LUXEMBOURG (dpa-AFX) - According to the European Court of Auditors, numerous challenges stand in the way of the EU's goal of being climate-neutral by 2050. One obstacle to the transport transition, for example, is that European e-cars are sometimes too expensive, the Court of Auditors said on Monday. Electric vehicles need to reach the masses. In addition, the charging network in Europe has large gaps. Alternative fuels are also not a real alternative, as the quantity is simply not sufficient.

The transport sector is responsible for around a quarter of total greenhouse gas emissions in Europe, half of which are attributable to cars alone. Despite more efficient engines, "most conventional cars still emit as much CO2 as they did twelve years ago, despite ambitious targets and strict requirements", said Nikolaos Milionis from the European Court of Auditors. According to the information provided, this is mainly due to the fact that cars have become heavier and engines more powerful.

With the so-called Green Deal, the EU wants to become climate-neutral by 2050. An important step in this direction: from 2035, new cars that run on petrol or diesel will no longer be allowed to be registered.

Problems with electric cars, batteries and charging stations

Great hopes are being pinned on electric cars to replace combustion engines in road traffic. However, the European battery industry is lagging behind the global competition, as the auditors found. Not even ten percent of global battery production takes place in Europe. A particular problem for EU producers is the high dependency on raw material imports from third countries.

According to the auditors, the costs for batteries produced in the EU are still much higher than planned, despite extensive public support. This has a significant impact on the cost of e-cars. However, the switch from combustion engines to e-cars should not lead to consumers having to dig deeper and deeper into their pockets.

The charging infrastructure also needs to be significantly improved. It is still a challenge to cross the EU with electric cars. According to the data, around 70 percent of all charging stations are concentrated in just 3 of the 27 EU countries - France, Germany and the Netherlands. There is a shortage of charging points in Eastern Europe in particular.

Alternative fuels not yet viable

No viable solution has yet been found for alternative fuels, the Court of Auditors criticized. "As they are not widely available, biofuels are not a reliable and credible alternative for cars," said Milionis.

The biomass produced in Europe is not sufficient to be a real alternative to conventional fuels. If imports are needed for alternative fuels, the EU is making itself even more dependent on other countries. In addition, biofuels are currently simply too expensive, according to the information provided./agy/DP/ngu