EMOBILITY MAKERS – Interview with Philippe Vangeel

August, 2021 / Blog

We are thrilled to have Philippe Vangeel, Secretary General of AVERE, as our very first guest of the EMOBILITY MAKERS series! Philippe tells us how his career in eMobility kick-started, the role AVERE plays in the e-mobility ecosystem, as well as some of the latest on EU EV policies.



Can you tell us about yourself and how your career in e-mobility kick-started?

I had just returned to Belgium at the beginning of 2018 following a career occasion in Norway when I heard of a new opportunity in the field of e-mobility. A professional contact of mine, working at Nissan, reached out to let me know that AVERE, the European Association for Electromobility, was looking for a new Secretary General.

It sounded very appealing as I had seen in Norway how advanced electromobility had become, and I was enthusiastic at the idea of helping it grow. So I accepted to have an interview for the position, and here we are.



Can you tell us about AVERE’s origins and growth over the years?

In the 70s, the first oil shock shook the planet. The blazing oil prices were starting to create panic worldwide on different levels, while the interest in ecology and environmental awareness was blooming. In this context, Professor Gaston Maggetto saw electric mobility as an obvious solution to the problems posed by the use of oil in transport. He and his team carried out many studies on batteries and recharging systems which helped grow their reputation. Remarkable successes and an international network motivated Professor Maggetto to fund The European Association for Electromobility. From then on, AVERE was created.


Unfortunately, following his death on February 9, 2007, the progress of his network slowed down. In 2010, the invention of the Lithium battery fuelled anew wave of interest for electric vehicles and the network, and his ambitions were revitalised! Today AVERE keeps pursuing Professor Maggetto’s dream alive through studies, research projects and international collaborations!



How would you describe AVERE’s role in the current e-mobility ecosystem?

AVERE is the only European association specifically representing and advocating for electromobility. It has built a reputation as a recognised actor promoting sustainable mobility across Europe and the world throughout its decades of activity. We advocate and work on behalf of all different stakeholders across the e-mobility value chain. In our perspective, EV users are at the core of these efforts, which automatically links to EV user’s associations as members.


AVERE is a recognised actor in the discussion and developments of EU policies related to electromobility. It is renowned amongst the electromobility industry as a forum of knowledge,  experiences and beliefs. This perception is strengthened by an extensive network giving us an unrivalled understanding of the electromobility market.



How have AVERE’s partnershipsmost significantly progressed e-mobility in Europe?

There are ways in which we have supported the progress of e-mobility in Europe: on the one hand, we have helped and continue to help make policies that are suited for the market’s needs. We always provide inputs on draft legislations that aim to help users and companies across the value chain. We do this also through our participation in EU or internationally financed projects. AVERE brings its expertise and network to help pilot the realisation and application of new technologies so they can be ready for mass marketisation.


On the other hand, we are also a privileged networking hub thanks to the tens of years of activity, backed up by our international conferences: the Electric Vehicle Symposium (EVS), the leading international event to address all the electro mobility issues, and the annual AVERE E-Mobility Conference (AEC).



In your opinion, what are the biggest bottlenecks hindering e-mobility’s progress in Europe today?

If we talk about the policies and policymaking world, there is short-sightedness from the long-termperspective, at least until very recent times. We often see a lack of long-term perspective on enabling the mass uptake of electro mobility in the continent. However, recently we have seen some positive signals, so maybe a shift in perspective is coming.


Another frustrating bottleneck is the endless discussion, like a game of chicken and egg, if cars or charging infrastructures should come first. Our position on this is clear: Europe needs a lot of both of them and they need to grow together in a holistic approach to support the mass demand for and use of electric vehicles on the very close horizon.



"It is happening.

Electricity is

the road-mobility

fuel of the future."


Where do the biggest opportunities for growth lie in the e-mobility ecosystem?

The market is growing exponentially, with absolute sales doubling from year to year. It means the sector is attracting significant investments, and more and more jobs will be created. The technological innovations are playing an essential contribution: just the astounding new technologies we see applied to batteries will soon require a wave of new professionals working in this sector.


What do you believe consumers most want to see develop within the e-mobility market over the next 10 years?

The main priority for consumers is price parity when purchasing a vehicle, as owning an EV has already much lower maintenance costs. It is also vital that governments allow users to enjoy all the extra advantages of owning an electric vehicle: for example, a financial incentive to charge your car, linked to the V2x technologies, meaning technologies that allow your vehicle’s battery to feed directly into the grid or other appliances. It would let users get better deals from their energy providers for their consumption.


In your view, how can the EU further promote EV adoption?

In our new Vision for 2030, we have identified some headline actions that the EU could take already to support the uptake of e-mobility further: phase out Internal Combustion Engines (ICE) by 2030; drastically reform CO2 emissions standards for cars and vans; create the conditions for a dense European charging infrastructure; scale up the EU’s battery industry; boost the use of renewables in transport.


But I think that, besides these actions, there needs to be a change in perspective: electric mobility should no longer be perceived as an alternative. It is happening. Electricity is the road-mobility fuel of the future. If you think about it, this should not come as a surprise. Electricity already is the most significant fuel powering most of our daily technologies, like our house applications or most of our infrastructures, so it is just a matter of time before this will be true of cars. In this sense, e-mobility should not be part of the Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Directive (AFID), as it is not an alternative but the new mainstream.

Can you tell us about AVERE’s latest proposals for progressing the EU’s support of EV adoption?

We have developed the aforementioned Vision 2030 paper, with 2030 and 2050 as the milestone years for achieving our targets. Furthermore, we engage with policymakers and offer continuous support on EU legislation: we have provided our contribution to the AFID, the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD), and the Fit for 55 package to reduce emissions by at least 55% by 2030. We also contribute to the revision of different sectoral legislations.



Thank you to AVERE’s Secretary General, Philippe Vangeel, for sharing insights and action plans for e-mobility at the European level.


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