European transport ministers have adopted a common position, or general approach, on each of the three legislative proposals of the Fit for 55 package that relate to the transport sector (alternative fuels infrastructure (AFIR), FuelEU Maritime and ReFuelEU Aviation).

This is an important step in the implementation of the fit for 55 legislative package, which should enable the EU to meet its climate objectives: reducing net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels and achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.

Within the deployment of AFIR, the Council adopted a general approach on the draft regulation. Here, the main objective of the proposed regulation is to ensure that the public can sufficiently access infrastructure networks for recharging or refueling road vehicles with alternative fuels. Another key goal for vehicles set by the Council is to achieve full interoperability throughout the EU, making sure that the infrastructure is easy to use in the process.

The Council’s general approach retains the fundamental aspects of the EU Commission proposal, such as the key overall parameters that will have a real impact on the climate. In particular, when recharging light electric vehicles, requirements for power to be provided based on the size of the registered fleet and the TEN-T coverage requirements in 2025 and 2030. Another point of emphasis is for when recharging electric heavy-duty vehicles and hydrogen refuelling, requirements for TEN-T coverage by 2030, starting in 2025 for electric heavy-duty vehicles.

The general approach does, however, amend some aspects of the Commission proposal. It adapts it to the specific dynamics of the electric heavy-duty vehicle sector: given the developments expected in the immediate future, particularly in recharging standards, and the fact that the market is less developed than for light vehicles, a gradual process of infrastructure deployment, encouraging a corridor approach, has been provided for starting in 2025, with the aim of covering all TEN-T roads by 2030.

To maximize the efficiency of investments in hydrogen refueling and adapt to technological developments, the requirements in the text are focused on the deployment of gaseous hydrogen refueling infrastructure along the TEN-T core network, with particular attention paid to urban nodes and multimodal hubs. The Commission will regularly assess developments in this sector in order to adapt and supplement the requirements as necessary.