Shifting to zero-emission vehicles in Europe will create jobs and drive economic growth, according to a major new study released on February 20 by Cambridge Econometrics for the European Climate Foundation.

The analysis, which was endorsed by Transport & Environment (T&E) and numerous corporations, including from the motor industry, found that moving away from vehicles powered by oil to ones driven by renewable energy will create 206,000 net additional jobs by 2030.

“The drive for batteries will be worth €250bn a year by 2025. Other parts of the world are moving; we need to make sure the EU leads on clean mobility,” said European Commission Vice President, Energy Union, Maroš Šefčovič. He was speaking at the study’s launch event in the European Parliament.

As outlined by the Cambridge Econometrics analysis, there will be a corresponding increase in gross domestic product (GDP) of 0.2% a year, with European oil imports slashed by €49bn in 2030. By then purchase costs of plug-in vehicles will be similar to oil-powered cars but total costs of ownership will be much lower, indicating the shift is good for drivers as well as the economy and the environment.

“This study proves definitively that low-carbon cars are good for drivers, the European economy, our health and the environment, but that zero-carbon cars are even better,” said William Todts, executive director of Transport & Environment.

“Vice President Šefčovič is right to say that citizens’ patience with bad air quality is running out. We need to seize the opportunity that electromobility offers in order to clean up the air in our cities and avoid becoming dependent on the auto technologies produced in other regions of the world,” added Todts.

The study also investigated the effect of manufacturing battery cells in Europe or importing them from Asia. It found there were still benefits to the European economy from a shift to electromobility, albeit smaller, even if cells are imported. However, manufacturing in Europe is considered probable so long as the cars are also made here.

“The risk to the European economy is that we get left behind by failing to sell and use electric cars,” explained Todts. “The Chinese have created a world-leading domestic market and with that helped build the biggest electric vehicle manufacturing industry in the world. China has recently attracted lots of investments, including from European automakers. Europe needs to catch up quickly to drive investment here. If we fail to do so, it will be Chinese-built electric cars driving on Europe’s roads in a few years.”