What is SCelecTRA? 

What is SCelecTRA?                                                                                                                        

SCelecTRA stands for Scenarios for the Electrification of Transports and is a European collaborative project launched in the frame of the Electromobility + Eranet call for project.



What is SCelecTRA about?                                                                                                           

The project started in 2012 and within its 3-year duration it aims at identifying the conditions for the creation of a long-lasting Electromobility in Europe before 2030.


What are the main outcomes of the project?                                                                           

SCelecTRA – Scenarios for the electrification of Transport is a collaborative project under the ERANET-Electromobility+ call aiming at :

  • identifying the conditions and public policies actions for the development of road passenger electric mobility in Europe for 2030,
  • assessing the environmental impacts of such policies and their external costs.


In a first phase, the environmental benefits of electric vehicles have been assessed for 2030. According to the Life cycle analysis carried out, the use phase dominates the environmental impacts associated with conventional vehicles (mostly gasoline and diesel cars). As the use phase for electric vehicles shows lower values than for conventional ones, the production phase gains relative importance. As a result, the production of lithium ion cells for the manufacturing of batteries and their implications in terms of environmental impacts represent significant issues throughout the life cycle of electric vehicles. Overall electric vehicles represent the most environmental friendly alternative for some of the impact categories in focus, mainly those dominated by fossil energy supply (non renewable primary energy demand or Global Warming Potential). Furthermore, it is worth noting that conventional and electric vehicles cannot be fully compared as they do not show the same functionality regarding range, charging infrastructure and charging time.


In a second step, the drivers of European mobility have been assessed and it appears the most important drivers of road transport demand are:

  • GDP per capita and population changes (size and composition between urban and non-urban areas) have a positive impact on the number of cars and their mobility.
  • The price of fuel always has a negative influence on road transport demand.
  • Scrappage policies appear to exert a positive impact on new registrations  whereas CO2-based car tax or "feebate" systems do not appear to have any influence.
  • And these influences are not consistent among the different countries allowing SCelecTRA team to model country dependent adoption responses to policies.

Policies that have already been implemented for supporting the development of electric and hybrid vehicles and/or favoring vehicle renewal programs have been identified like scrappage programs, higher fuel taxes, discounts on electricity rates and purchase incentives. As a consequence three “supply side policyscenarios, named “contextual scenarios”, and four “demand side policyscenarios have been chosen.

Looking at market penetration in 2030 in the five largest markets, in the most optimistic scenario xEV sales share (battery electric vehicles + plug-in hybrid vehicles) in the total sales is 34% in Germany, 32% in Spain, 27% in Italy, 26% in France and 28% in UK. In a most pessimistic scenario these shares are respectively 20%, 11%, 18%, 18% and 17%.


SCl results

Figure 3: Optimistic scenario for Electromobility in 2030


Regarding the conditions to create a European-scale EV market, charging infrastructure is not the only criterion but our simulations made it clear that without a strong development of charging points no EVs appear.

Our simulations pointed that member states should focus on scrappage programs to accelerate the renewing of their vehicle fleets, subsidies to lower the purchase costs of xEVs and ease their arrival on the market and a high CO2 tax to even further penalize high-CO2 emitting vehicles. On the other hand, a specific action on fuel taxes appears to be less efficient. It should also be noted, that policies are not necessarily additive, i.e. the sum of the effects of two policies is not equal to the effect of the combination of the two policies. 

Because of the advantage of PHEVs and EVs in terms of energy efficiency, it turns out that the additional electricity demand due to passenger electric mobility represents a small share of the 2030 final energy mix of transport, as well as a small proportion of the final electricity demand compared to other sectors.

As for its environmental impacts, the highest reductions of tailpipe CO2 emissions (accounted only for the transport sector) towards 2035 are reached when electrification rate is higher thanks to null or lower emissions associated with electrified vehicles (reduction of carbon intensity and increase of the overall energy efficiency of the fleet) even accounting for a small rebound effect of the passenger car mobility.

SCelecTRA also showed that the additional electricity to be supplied to transport comes from additional electricity production rather than reduced uses in residential, commercial or industrial sectors. With a global carbon cap design, additional reduction efforts realized in the transport sector provide an additional “carbon budget” to be spent elsewhere. This allows to relax the abatement level especially in the electricity sector, where the additional demand is satisfied by a mix of coal, gas and nuclear electricity depending on the countries and has a negative impact on the CO2 emissions of industry and energy supply sectors.


SCL elec SCL elec2

Figure 2: Electricity generation by type, variations over S01, all scenarios, 2030-2035


Then, comparing results associated to a similar climate policy reveals that emission increase in the electricity sector due to fleet electrification can prevail over the emission reduction in transport, especially when the carbon constraint is high because of larger additional capacities in combustion power plants.

Hence, for a given carbon constraint, total emission levels tend to raise with electrification rate except when carbon cap is fairly low (limited positive impact on CO, CO2 and NOx emissions). Therefore, overall effects due to electrification are not clear-cut and depend on climate policy. Still, they result from economic choices, and traduce the complexity of transfers of flows (economic, environmental) across sectors – for a given carbon cap, scenarios have the same global CO2 outcome. Differences are due to changing, yet interdependent, technology choices in the different sectors. The evaluation of external costs reveals another difficulty, because cross-sectoral “leakages” may occur for pollutants not covered by specific policy objectives. And the cost-benefit analysis showed that an ambitious electromobility policy faces difficulties to cover its costs and should therefore be considered on a higher scale to account for all its indirect benefits.

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