EU plots internal combustion engine ban from 2025: industry – EURACTIV.com
Euro 7 emission rules proposed by the European Commission for cars, vans, trucks and buses would amount to a ‘back door ban’ on internal combustion engines from 2025, if implemented in their current form, the industry said, calling the proposal premature. and “totally out of the question”.
The “Euro 7” rules aim to ensure that vehicles are clean throughout their lifespan, helping Europe to meet its European Green Deal emissions targets. The exact details of the measurement are still under discussion, but they are already causing concern at VDMA, a German trade association representing mechanical engineering companies.
“The planned requirement that new vehicles in Europe be virtually emission-free from 2025 would be an ecological, economic and technological aberration,” VDMA said in a statement.
“The Euro 7 regulation proposals discussed so far endanger value chains far beyond the automotive industry by leading to a de facto ban on cars and trucks powered only by internal combustion engines. Europe cannot afford it, ”the statement said.
VDMA maintains that the introduction of electric fuels means that the internal combustion engine will continue to play a role in the shift to green transportation.
E-fuels, such as liquid hydrogen, can be created from electricity supplied by renewable sources, providing a green alternative to fossil fuels. However, these synthetic fuels currently have a much higher production cost and require large amounts of renewable energy to be carbon neutral.
Frans Timmermans, EU climate policy chief, said decisions will be taken in consultation with the auto industry, but stressed his intention was not to avoid “difficult topics and difficult decisions” .
“You know the auto industry starts by saying it’s impossible and then, in the end, does it,” he said at a press briefing last November. “But I am not taking this as a model for my negotiations now because we have to listen [the industry], we have to listen to their arguments, ”he said.
Timmermans recognized the essential role of car manufacturing for the European economy, but said the industry must now shift towards electric vehicles and the use of hydrogen for heavier transport.
“I know there is a lot of nervousness. We will have this dialogue with the industry, but we cannot wait until 2029 to have a further reduction in our emissions, ”he added.
Car manufacturers react
The Association of European Automobile Manufacturers (ACEA) said there was “no evidence” that the scenarios proposed in the proposal are technically feasible at present, especially since the limits of Strict emissions must be observed even under extreme driving conditions, such as when traveling. on top of a hill or in severe winter weather.
In practice, this means that “the targets that manufacturers will set for technical development must be well below prescribed limits,” said an ACEA spokesperson.
“Rather than announcing short-term bans on internal combustion engines, what is needed is a strong political commitment to put in place all the conditions favorable to the transition to zero-emission mobility – such as as charging infrastructure and incentives – as an urgent matter, ”added the spokesperson.
The CCFA, a group representing French automakers including Renault, has said it is concerned with Euro 7 standards, but expects changes before the publication of the final version.
“The first proposals that have been made call for a 60 to 90% reduction in emissions, which is not at all realistic. It is a very complicated objective to achieve with regard to non-electric cars, ”said Laure De Servigny, head of information and media relations at CCFA.
“To reduce and phase out emissions, one solution would be to use clean energies such as biofuels. It might help to achieve this goal. The other solution is to only sell electric and hybrid vehicles, but I’m not sure consumers will approve and buy them, ”she added.
The German Automobile Industry Association (VDA) is also concerned about what is currently on the table.
“The point is, the current proposal threatens to make the internal combustion engine and the progress made so far impossible. What is sold as sustainable is ultimately even harmful for the climate: the renewal of existing vehicles is not progressing fast enough, consumers are destabilized and older vehicles continue to run, ”said VDA President Hildegard Müller.
“In addition, there is a negative consequence for electric mobility: a premature end of the internal combustion engine hinders, makes more expensive and delays the enormous process of transformation that our companies – manufacturers and suppliers – must currently master in order to continue to operate. to be world leaders in this field, ”she added.
VDA believes that it is unrealistic to scrapped the internal combustion engine within the next four years.
“The end of the internal combustion engine by 2025 is totally out of the question! The internal combustion engine will play a major role for a long time to come, ”said Müller.
“The sense of proportion”
Large German carmaker BMW told EURACTIV that “efficient” combustion engines will continue to play a “central role” for some customers, such as those who live in rural areas without convenient access to charging infrastructure.
The company expressed concern that Euro 7 would set emission parameters that cannot be technically achieved in all driving situations, resulting in an indirect ban on the internal combustion engine.
“A new development towards Euro 7 must be done with a sense of proportion and focus on improving air quality. The combination of limit values and framework conditions must be defined in such a way that they can be implemented in a technically meaningful way and have a balanced cost-benefit ratio, ”BMW told EURACTIV.
Mercedes-Benz has also expressed its opposition to a ban on internal combustion “through the back door”.
“The transformation towards emission-free mobility takes time and is already being done today through CO2 legislation, subsidies for buyers and infrastructure. From our point of view, the scenarios currently discussed are not technically feasible, ”the company told EURACTIV by email.
Volkswagen, one of the world’s best-selling car brands, told EURACTIV in a statement that the current Euro 7 proposals would push up the price of vehicles.
“The Euro 7 scenarios discussed would only be possible with large-scale, complex and therefore very expensive technical measures. A complete expansion of the exhaust after treatment combined with the need for hybridization would make most vehicles much more expensive, ”Volkswagen said in an email.
“In the particularly sensitive small car segment, the surcharge would no longer be acceptable to many customers,” the company added.
The view from Brussels
The European Commission says it is trying to keep the automotive industry competitive while protecting the health of citizens and the environment. The EU executive specifies that it has not completed its assessment or finalized its assessment of possible solutions, and that a deadline of end of 2021 has been set for the Euro 7 proposal.
“The Commission is carefully evaluating various emission severity scenarios and will balance the emissions saved against the additional costs needed to achieve them,” said an EU executive official.
“It is more likely that internal combustion engines will cease to exist if no harmonized measures are taken to make them less polluting,” the official told EURACTIV, pointing to cities and EU countries that have banned vehicles equipped with combustion engines for air improvement reasons. quality and safeguarding citizens.
[Edited by Frédéric Simon and Zoran Radosavljevic]