Even hybrids prohibited | The European Union wants the end of gasoline and diesel cars by 2035

(Brussels) Brussels on Wednesday proposed to reduce CO emissions to zero2 new cars in the EU from 2035, which would de facto stop sales of gasoline and diesel vehicles at that date in favor of 100% electric engines.

The measure should help meet the EU’s climate targets, but “it will also benefit citizens by reducing energy costs and improving air quality,” the Commission explained.

Bleeding jobs?

The automotive industry is however worried about a lack of charging stations and an industrial transformation that could cause a haemorrhage of jobs. Even if it is already engaged in the transition.

The draft legislation, if adopted as it is, would mean the end in 2035 of sales of vehicles with thermal engines, including hybrids (gasoline-electric) and plug-in hybrids, a red flag for manufacturers.

Battery electric vehicles being the only ones to meet the zero emission requirement, they would de facto become the only ones on the new European market, even if no technology will be officially imposed.

“Banning a technology is not a rational solution at this stage,” denounced the Association of European Automobile Manufacturers (ACEA).

All options, including highly efficient heat engines, hybrids and hydrogen vehicles must play a role in the transition to climate neutrality.

Association of European Automobile Manufacturers

The Commission proposal will be discussed for more than a year by the European Parliament and the Member States, which could lead to softening the more radical proposals.

Nothing that has been presented today will be easy, it will even be damn difficult.

The European Commissioner for the Environment, Frans Timmermans.

Cars, the first mode of travel for Europeans, represent around 15% of CO emissions2, one of the first gases responsible for global warming.

Arm wrestling

A standoff between the main producing countries (Germany, France, Spain, Italy) against those without national manufacturers such as Austria, Denmark or the Netherlands. France has already indicated that it wants to defend the survival of hybrids after 2035.

To respond to manufacturers worried about insufficient consumer demand for 100% electricity, the Commission recommends strongly developing charging stations. “Along the main roads in Europe, there must be charging points every 60 kilometers”, argued the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen.

At the end of last year, the EU counted 260,000 publicly accessible charging points among its 27 Member States, 70% of which in just three countries (Germany, France, the Netherlands). It promises 1 million in 2025, 3.5 million in 2030 and 16.3 million in 2050.

Europe had already imposed an average cap of 95 grams of CO in 20202 per kilometer to automakers, which was to be further reduced by 15% in 2025 and 37.5% in 2030.

Finally, this reduction will be reinforced to reach 55% in 2030, then 100% in 2035, according to the Brussels proposal. These figures would represent an immense constraint for an industry which will also have to count by 2027 on the tightening of the pollution standards imposed on thermal engines.

The existing standards have already produced effects, manufacturers having been forced to invest tens of billions of euros in the electrification of their range.

Strong growth in electric cars

In a globally declining market due to the coronavirus pandemic, 100% electric cars have made strong progress. Between April and June, they represented 9.3% of new registrations in Western Europe, a share more than quadrupled in two years, according to German analyst Matthias Schmidt.

The Commission’s project has delighted conservationists. “This is a turning point for the automotive industry and good news for drivers,” said the executive director of the NGO Transport & Environment, William Todts.

According to him, “the new EU rules democratize electric cars and give a major boost to charging, which means that clean cars will soon be affordable and easy to charge for millions of Europeans”.

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