EU signals end of internal combustion engine by 2035 – EURACTIV.com
Sales of new cars and vans that produce carbon emissions will be banned from 2035, proposals tabled by the European Commission revealed on Wednesday (July 14th), a move that almost guarantees that the era of the internal combustion engine (ICE ) is emerging. at its end in the EU.
The new rules will lead the bloc to deepen its transition to electric vehicles, with the European Commission expecting “almost 100%” of cars on the roads by 2050 to be emission-free.
The announcement came as the EU executive released a set of climate and energy laws, which aims to cut the bloc’s greenhouse gas emissions by 55% by 2030 and to chart the course to reach net zero by 2050.
“Transport is today the source of 29% of the EU’s total greenhouse gas emissions. By 2050, we have to reduce it by 90%, ”said Adina Vălean, European Commissioner for Transport.
“A combination of measures is needed to tackle rising emissions in road transport,” the European Commission said in a statement, adding that “stricter CO2 emission standards for cars and vans will accelerate the transition to zero-emission mobility “.
Dealing with potential criticism from the industry, a senior EU official said the move was in line with the principle of technology neutrality: if an emission-free ICE vehicle was created, it would be allowed under the rules, the official said. .
Currently, cars produced in the EU are allowed to emit 95g of carbon per kilometer driven. This figure will be reduced by 55% by 2030, dropping to 0 g by 2035. Vans, which are allowed at 147 g / km, will experience a reduction of 50% by 2030, but will also have to be emission-free. here 2035.
Incentives for zero and low emission vehicles
Incentives for zero and low emission vehicles will be phased out in 2030, with the EU executive considering that clean vehicles will no longer compete with gasoline and diesel engines, thereby removing the need for government support.
Currently, manufacturers producing between 1,000 and 10,000 passenger cars or between 1,000 and 22,000 light commercial vehicles can apply for a waiver of emissions targets – the European Commission has proposed that this cease to apply from 2030.
Small-scale manufacturers that produce less than a thousand vehicles per year, however, will be exempt from zero-emission requirements.
To ensure sufficient progress, a report will be produced every two years, with the EU executive reserving the right to introduce new measures if it considers that the targets are likely to be missed. A full assessment will be carried out in 2028 – roughly halfway between now and the ban on the sale of polluting vehicles.
Asked about consumer concerns about the higher price of electric vehicles compared to their fossil-fueled counterparts, an EU official said the initial price of electric vehicles is expected to decline in the coming years. The total cost of ownership, which takes fuel costs into account, is expected to drop below current ICE vehicles as early as 2027, the official said.
The giants of the European car industry are expected to largely manage the transition to electric vehicles, many of them already restructuring production towards electric mobility. However, the smaller manufacturers and parts makers will likely be the most affected by the coming transition.
“For the auto industry, I don’t think this is a huge problem,” said Peter Liese, a German Christian Democrat lawmaker who is a key ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel in the European Parliament.. “But we also have thousands of SMEs that produce parts for the combustion engine. And for them, 2035 is close enough and they will be challenged by it. ”
The Commission said it would provide “upgrading and retraining opportunities” for those at risk of becoming unemployed due to the downturn in industries linked to the manufacture of internal combustion engines.
Are electric vehicles clean?
The announcement will place a renewed emphasis on the sustainability of battery-powered electric vehicles, which received major momentum from today’s announcement.
Speaking to reporters, Peter Liese said the center-right EPP group in the European Parliament was “very concerned” about how the European Commission plans to measure emissions from cars.
“Electric vehicles are not really carbon neutral – although in my opinion they are the best at reducing emissions in road transport – because electricity is not carbon neutral,” he said. during a press briefing on Wednesday.
“At the EPP, we are still convinced that we also need alternatives, especially for trucks and other niche markets where electricity is unlikely to do the job. We therefore urge the Commission to adopt a more open technological approach.
Liese criticized the 2035 choice for the ban on vehicle emissions, arguing that it does not give enough time for small businesses whose livelihoods depend on the production of internal combustion engines to adapt.
But clean mobility NGO Transport & Environment welcomed the announcement, calling for the switch to clean vehicles to happen before the EU deadline.
“This is a turning point for the auto industry and good news for drivers. The new EU rules will democratize electric cars and give charging a major boost, meaning that clean cars will soon be affordable and easy to charge for millions of Europeans, ”said William Todts, executive director of Transport & Environment (T&E).
EU focuses on transport sector
The new regulation on car CO2 emissions is part of a larger set of energy and climate laws that aim to reduce the bloc’s emissions by 55% by 2030.
Much of the new legislation targets the transport sector, a sector that Europe has struggled to decarbonize so far.
For many transport companies, green rules will fundamentally change their business operations, forcing them to switch to cleaner technology and fuels.
To facilitate the deployment of zero-emission vehicles, the Commission aims to increase the number of recharging and refueling points along major roads. The European executive has set itself the goal of installing an electric charging station every 60 kilometers, with a hydrogen refueling station every 150 kilometers.
On aviation, EU Transport Commissioner Adina Vălean confirmed that the EU will impose a green jet fuel mandate on all refueling flights at EU airports, with kerosene to include a mixture of ” at least 5% sustainable aviation fuel by 2030.
In the maritime transport sector, the FuelEU Maritime regulation aims to stimulate the adoption of sustainable maritime fuels. The regulation sets a limit on the greenhouse gas content of the energy used by ships disembarking in European ports.
[Edited by Frédéric Simon]