Photo: Joachim Rode

DTU joins commission on green transition for passenger cars

Friday 01 Mar 19


Tejs Vegge
Professor, Head of Section
DTU Energy
+45 45 25 82 01


Otto Anker Nielsen
Professor/Head of Division
DTU Management
+45 45 25 15 14


Ninette Pilegaard
Deputy Head of Division, Group Leader
DTU Management
+45 45 25 65 54
It is now to be specified in concrete terms how the Danish Government’s objective to phase out petrol-powered passenger cars can be met. Three of the six external experts on the commission are DTU researchers.

The Government has set up a commission which—over the next two years—is to present proposals for a strategy on how to meet the objective of transforming the Danish fleet of cars to vehicles which do not emit CO2 by 2035.

Where is the technology at right now, and how will it develop in the next ten years? How can you encourage people to replace their petrol-powered cars with electric or hydrogen cars? What will an increase in users require of the charging stations, in terms of both capacity and quantity? And what will the general effect of more electric cars be for the electricity system? These are some of the questions that the commission must answer.

These years are seeing great changes in the technology which—in the final analysis—is a prerequisite for meeting the objective to phase out petrol-powered cars on Danish roads. For example, intensive work is being done to improve the materials for batteries to boost their capacity and charging speed, concurrently with the price being reduced. Professor Tejs Vegge from DTU Energy is deeply involved in this research and knows what is happening in this field worldwide. He has also been given a leading role in a new major strategic EU partnership aimed at accelerating European battery development and production.

“We’re currently seeing sweeping developments in the technology in this field—including in the materials area and use of artificial intelligence—and this development is necessary if we’re to meet the Government’s objective. It’s a big challenge, but I don’t think it’s a hopeless one; however, we need to use many different tools. A large number of aspects have to be studied before the right decisions can be made,” says Tejs Vegge.

"A large number of aspects have to be studied before the right decisions can be made."
Tejs Vegge, Professor

The commission will also be studying the economic aspects of the green transition. It must be analysed how different economic measures may incentivize drivers to switch to low-emission vehicles, and how the State’s revenues can be ensured in the transitional period.

Here, the commission will be able to draw on the expertise offered by Professor Otto Anker Nielsen, Head of Division, Transport Modelling, DTU Management Engineering, and Deputy Head of Division Ninette Pilegaard. They have experience in assessing traffic effects and the transport system from a socio-economic angle, including the parameters which affect people’s choices, and the consequences of these choices on the tax system.

“The transition to CO2-neutral vehicles will have tremendous tax and distribution consequences, and a part of the commission’s mandate is to analyse the effects of other types of road tolls and road pricing, to ensure a green transition, maintenance of tax revenues, and regulation of the transport sector in a way that ensures good traffic flow on the roads,” says Otto Anker Nielsen.

All three DTU members see the membership of the commission as a very important social task and are looking forward to getting started with the work quickly. It is—in fact—a demanding task, which must be performed before the end of 2020, with a first report on the tax system to be submitted already before the end of the year.