Electrification of the transport sector

Greater knowledge is required to accelerate the electrification of the transport sector. The Swedish Government has tasked the Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute (VTI) with contributing such knowledge. The first three reports, dealing with digitisation, costs and maritime shipping, have now been submitted.

VTI is thus contributing to building up knowledge to facilitate the rapid, smart and socioeconomically efficient electrification of the transport sector. The government assignment relates to all relevant electrification technologies and all modes of transport.

Photo: Imam Muhaimin/Unsplash

VTI will be reporting the results in its first three reports on three separate occasions during 2022:

Digitisation for rapid and efficient electrification

This report describes and analyses the various future scenarios foreseen by the researchers, in terms of both opportunities and challenges. Digitisation may make it possible to prebook electric vehicle charging, plan routes based on available charging infrastructure and simplify interfaces so that charging is automatic.

The coordination and sharing of data is crucial to all of this, as are the legal conditions. In terms of data sharing, common European data spaces are one potential facilitator.

The cost and funding of different technologies and modes of transport

The faster the pace of electrification, the lower the socioeconomic costs. This in turn demands changed behaviours at system level, as well as substantial investment and innovation in the immediate future. To meet demand economically, the researchers underline the importance of expanding charging infrastructure and the capacity of the national grid.

As part of the Fit for 55 package, the European Commission proposes policy instruments to further accelerate electrification. According to the report, further analysis is required to evaluate how the package can contribute to Swedish national climate goals.

Electrification of maritime shipping and policy instruments

When it comes to electrification, maritime shipping is lagging behind other modes of transport. The report sees the greatest potential in ferries on short routes. Aside from batteries, hydrogen may prove to be a suitable fuel, even if both options currently involve higher costs than fossil fuels. The researchers offer examples of policy instruments that may prove more effective in facilitating the transition from fossil fuels to alternative fuels than those currently in use.

The EU’s Fit for 55 package of climate legislation proposals can also play a significant role in ensuring that choices in maritime shipping give due consideration to socioeconomic consequences.

“Thus far, the assignment has proved by stimulating and challenging, as we are studying electrification from multiple perspectives such as technology, commerce, regulation and users. At the same time, this is of course a predictive study, as the majority of the transition to a fossil-free transport sector lies ahead us,” notes senior research leader Arne Nåbo of VTI, who is coordinating the institute’s work on the government assignment.

Read more:
Lina Nordin & Jeanette Andersson (2022). Government commission on the electrification of the transport sector. The possibilities of digitalisation for making the electrification of transport more efficient and accelerated – including legal conditions. VTI report 1109. (Written in Swedish with an abstract in English.)

Lisa Björk, Magnus Johansson, Erik Nyberg & Roger Pyddoke (2022). Government commission on the electrification of the transport sector. Costs, financing, and business models. VTI report 1110. (Written in Swedish with an abstract in English.)

Henrik Sjöstrand & Samuel Lindgren (2022). Government commission on the electrification of the transport sector. The electrification of maritime transport – prerequisites, state of play and policy instruments. VTI report 1106. (Written in Swedish with an abstract in English.)

Text: Gunilla Rech/VTI
Translated by: Semantix AB


Arne Nåbo
VTI, Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute, Sweden

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