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13-06-2022 | Internal Combustion Engine | News | Article

EU Parliament votes to ban internal combustion vehicles from 2035

Author: Christiane Köllner

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This article is an automated translation. The original article in German can be found here

The sale of new cars with internal combustion engines is to be banned from 2035 according to the will of the EU Parliament. Then only passenger cars and light commercial vehicles should be offered, which do not emit greenhouse gases.

A majority of the members of the European Parliament in Strasbourg voted with 339 yes to 249 no votes in favor of the fact that starting from 2035 in the European Union (EU) only passenger cars and light commercial vehicles may be brought on the market, which do not emit greenhouse gases. An amendment that was also discussed, which provided for the CO2 savings from alternative fuels such as e-fuels to be counted towards the fleet targets for new cars, failed by 44 votes. With their vote, the MEPs followed a proposal submitted by the EU Commission as part of the "Fit for 55" climate package.

However, the end of the combustion engine is not yet a done deal. Before such a regulation can come into force, the EU Parliament still has to negotiate it with the EU states. At the end of the month, the EU states want to define their position on the ban on the sale of vehicles with gasoline or diesel engines. Then the two EU institutions still have to find a compromise so that the regulation can come into force. In this context, Germany supports the planned phase-out of internal combustion engines in 2035. In November 2021, several major automakers, including Mercedes-Benz and Ford, had also called for a sales ban on internal combustion engine vehicles in leading markets from 2035 at the World Climate Conference in Glasgow.

Synthetic fuels not eligible

For the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), the EU Parliament's vote is "a decision against innovation & technology and misses the reality of people. Keyword: completely insufficient European charging infrastructure," writes the VDA on Twitter.

The eFuel Alliance criticizes the one-sided focus on electromobility and pleads for a mix of technologies. "The current EU regulation on CO2 standards for cars and vans, which focuses exclusively on tailpipe emissions, will not ensure a timely transition to climate-neutral mobility. This is because emissions that occur in earlier or later stages of a vehicle's lifecycle, such as in the production of the vehicle or in the generation and provision of the operating electricity, are not taken into account," the advocacy group says. It also says the EU's electricity mix is still heavily dependent on fossil fuels. Likewise, the automobile club ADAC pleads for the additional use of e-fuels.

At the beginning of June, more than 300 scientists already warned in an open letter against phasing out the internal combustion engine too soon. The scientists believe that the "real-life" CO2 emissions of battery-electric vehicles are often distorted. As early as 2021, the scientists demanded in an open letter to the EU Commission, a change of course in the implementation of the transport turnaround.

VCD calls for ambitious targets

The European umbrella organization of car manufacturers, ACEA, welcomes the fact that the Parliament has retained the EU Commission's proposal for the 2025 and 2030 targets. However, it says they are now "set in stone." However, the transformation of the industry would also depend on many imponderable external factors such as the charging infrastructure. It would therefore be better to review the targets transparently at the halfway point in order to define targets for the period after 2030.

However, the VCD, an ecological transport association, does not think the targets go far enough. Michael Müller-Görnert, transport policy spokesman for the VCD, is calling for the limits to be lowered even more than planned by the Commission. He says the EU Parliament must lower the limits for 2030 by 70% instead of 55% and introduce an interim target for 2027. "By 2035 at the latest, only emission-free vehicles should then really be allowed. Any postponement and softening counteracts climate protection and energy security."

Read also the pro-con commentary on the European Parliament's decision here. 

This article is an automated translation. The original article in German can be found here

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