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European E-Mobility Focusing on Automobile Industry Industrial policy

Author Hyun Jean Lee, Cheolwon Lee, and Hyung Jun Yoon Series 21-01 Language Korean Date 2021.04.01

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   This study analyzes e-mobility policies of the European Union (EU) and its major member states. Through the analysis the study provides policy implications for the Korean government in promoting eco-friendly automobiles, and strategic insights for Korean companies aiming to access the EU market.
   The automobile industry of the EU faces multiple challenges today. Aiming to achieve climate neutrality by 2050, the EU will have to reduce greenhouse gas emissions of cars by expanding the use of renewable energy, while maintaining the industry’s competitiveness. Currently, the EU remains comparatively weak in the market for eco-friendly automobiles. The share of European brands in the world’s eco-friendly car market is only 12%. Moreover, Europe is lagging behind Northeast Asian countries, including South Korea, in battery packs and hydrogen fuel cells technology and production. Upon this background, the EU is endeavoring to support the eco-friendly automobile industry to reduce overseas dependence on core components, and to expand the distribution of eco-friendly cars.
On the EU level, the EU Commission is playing a pivotal role in laying the basis for the eco-friendly automobile industry. It has announced the European Green Deal and adopted the New Industrial Strategy for Europe. A roadmap has been presented for supporting the eco-friendly automotive industry through EU-level strategies in the areas of batteries, hydrogen, and e-mobility. Meanwhile, cooperative alliances are being formed in the battery sector, including the European Battery Alliance (EBA), BatteRIes Europe, a technology innovation platform, and the Battery 2030+ initiative. The European Clean Hydrogen Alliance has been formed to promote hydrogen fuel technology. In addition, the EU protects and supports the regional e-mobility industry using indirect methods of regulation, such as emission regulation, waste regulation, and the establishment of standards. Financial support for research innovation is being provided through the Horizon Europe and InnovFin initiatives, and through mobilization of the European Strategic Investment Fund (EFSI), while infrastructure investment is actively being carried out through the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF).
On the EU member state level, Germany, France, Sweden, and the four Visegrad states (Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic and Slovakia) were selected for case studies, on the basis of their importance in the EU’s automobile industry. Germany, France, and Sweden are all actively using subsidies and tax regimes to expand the distribution of eco-friendly cars. Germany has introduced a new e-mobility law to facilitate the administrative process of using eco-friendly cars. Germany's eco-friendly automobile industry support policy incorporates suggestions from the industrial sector, while providing support for research and production of battery cells, as well as R&D projects in hydrogen technology. In the case of France, it is notable that the government, as a major shareholder, is actively participating in the management of major manufacturers with a view to protecting jobs and fostering the eco-friendly automobile industry. Sweden has the highest sales volume of eco-friendly cars in Europe thanks to government policies to encourage consumption. The V4 countries are gaining importance as emerging powers of the European automobile industry, with a large number of global companies entering their markets, both as primary and secondary suppliers.
   Through the analyses, the study draws three main implications. First, it is important to actively participate in the process of establishing standards through technical cooperation with Europe. For Korean companies it is important to work closely with EU companies and institutions to reflect their opinions when setting battery technology standards. In addition, Korean companies, academia, and the government should actively participate in discussions on expanding the use of hydrogen technology in Europe, so that well-advanced Korean hydrogen technology can penetrate into the newly-formed EU market.
   Second, expanding the supply of eco-friendly cars in Korea through improvement of the subsidy system can be considered. Policy makers could consider expanding the scope of subsidies to include leased or used eco-friendly vehicles, to the extent of available budget levels. Another option to consider would be modifying the eligibility criteria to incentivize transition to eco-friendly cars, rather than focusing on scrappage programs. In addition, it is necessary to consider ways to incorporate CO2 emission into the calculation of automobile taxes.
Finally, further cooperation with the V4 countries is necessary to improve access to the EU market. To make more efficient use of the advantageous position already formed in the V4, Korea needs to implement a step-by-step cooperative framework with the V4 for the development of future mobility. Possible directions would include establishing joint R&D centers for developing electric vehicles and batteries, or forming a global consortium in the field of hydrogen cars and charging facilities.

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