Policy brief

Is the European automotive industry ready for the global electric vehicle revolution?

This Policy Contribution investigates the position of the European automotive industry in a scenario in which electrification substantially progresses

Publishing date
20 December 2018

The automotive sector is currently at the centre of a global transformation, driven by four key trends: electrification, autonomous driving, sharing and connected cars. While each of these interconnected trends is already visible in daily life, their full deployment is not yet guaranteed, nor is the speed of take-up.

This Policy Contribution investigates the position of the European automotive industry in a scenario in which electrification substantially progresses.

The results are encouraging for Europe: EU companies entered the global electric vehicle race late, but on the basis of our analysis it is not yet too late for them to catch up and make the best of this change.

European car manufacturers can rely on a large internal market, long experience in automotive manufacturing and a portfolio of research and development projects and patents that is diversified across various power-train technologies. But if Europe wants to succeed in the global electric vehicle race, its automotive industry will have to move into higher gear to meet the global – notably Chinese – competition. Nevertheless, industry needs the proper framework conditions as the basis for more ambitious investments in electrification – as examples such as Norway or China demonstrate.

This Policy Contribution formulates a broad policy framework for deployment and production of electric vehicles in Europe, combining demand and supply-side instruments. Europe cannot follow China in the adoption of centrally-planned industrial policy measures. But it certainly can and should do more to stimulate the transformation of its automotive industry through more ambitious policies.

 

On February 12, Bruegel is hosting an event on electric vehicles in European automotive industry, which will feature among others a presentation from the authors of this Policy Contribution. Click here to register.  

About the authors

  • Reinhilde Veugelers

    Prof Dr. Reinhilde Veugelers is a full professor at KULeuven (BE) at the Department of Management, Strategy and Innovation.  She is a Senior Fellow at Bruegel since 2009.  She is also a CEPR Research Fellow, a member of the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Sciences and of the Academia Europeana. From 2004-2008, she was on academic leave, as advisor at the European Commission (BEPA Bureau of European Policy Analysis).  She served on the ERC Scientific Council from 2012-2018 and on the RISE Expert Group advising the commissioner for Research.  She is a member of VARIO, the expert group advising the Flemish minister for Innovation.    She is currently a member of the Board of Reviewing Editors of the journal Science and a co-PI on the Science of Science Funding Initiative at NBER.

    With her research concentrated in the fields of industrial organisation, international economics and strategy, innovation and science, she has authored numerous well cited publications in leading international journals.  Specific recent topics include novelty in technology development,  international technology transfers through MNEs, global innovation value chains, young innovative companies, innovation for climate change,  industry science links and their impact on firm’s innovative productivity, evaluation of research & innovation policy,  explaining scientific productivity,  researchers’ international mobility,  novel scientific research.

    Websites:
    https://feb.kuleuven.be/reinhilde.veugelers
    https://bruegel.org/author/reinhilde-veugelers/

  • Simone Tagliapietra

    Simone Tagliapietra is a Senior fellow at Bruegel. He is also Adjunct professor of Energy, Climate and Environmental Policy at the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore and at The Johns Hopkins University - School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) Europe.

    His research focuses on the European Union climate and energy policy and on the political economy of global decarbonisation. With a record of numerous policy and scientific publications, he is the author of Global Energy Fundamentals (Cambridge University Press, 2020), L’Energia del Mondo (Il Mulino, 2020) and Energy Relations in the Euro-Mediterranean (Palgrave, 2017).

    His columns and policy work are published and cited in leading international media such as the Financial Times, The New York Times, The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal, Le Monde, Die Zeit, Corriere della Sera, Il Sole 24 Ore and others.

    Simone holds a PhD in Institutions and Policies from Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore. Born in the Dolomites in 1988, he speaks Italian, English and French.

  • Alexander Roth

    Alexander Roth, a German citizen, works as a Research Intern at Bruegel in the area of climate and energy policy. He holds a BSc and MSc in Economics from the University of Mannheim and an MSc from the Free University of Brussels (ULB).

    Prior to joining Bruegel, Alex worked on the European Carbon Trading System at DG Climate Action in the European Commission. He conducted research at the Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW), Commerzbank AG and the University of Mannheim.

    Alex's research interests include empirical microeconomics, focusing on climate, energy, and environmental economics and policies.

    He is fluent in German, English and French, and has a good knowledge of Spanish.

  • Gustav Fredriksson

    Gustav, a Swedish citizen, worked at Bruegel as a Research Assistant in the area of Energy and Climate.

    Prior to joining Bruegel, Gustav worked as a Junior Consultant for the International Labour Organization in Zambia. He also did an internship at Frontier Economics, where he worked on energy-related issues.

    Gustav holds a MSc in Economics from the Stockholm School of Economics, which included an exchange semester at Bocconi University. His master’s thesis focused on the impact of wind power on the level and the volatility of the electricity price in the Nordic-Baltic market. Gustav also has a BSc in Economics and Business Economics from Erasmus University Rotterdam.

    Gustav’s research interests lie within the fields of energy and competition. He is a native speaker of Swedish and English, and speaks French fluently.

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