Brussels agrees to ban the sale of new combustion cars in 2035


The negotiators of the European Council (the Member States of the EU), the European Parliament and the European Commission reached an agreement on Thursday to prohibit the sale of new cars and vans with a combustion engine from 2035. “Pending adoption formally, the co-legislators agreed on the objective of reduction of CO2 emissions of 55% for new cars and 50% for new vans by 2030 compared to 2021 levels” and “100% for new cars and vans by 2035,” the European Council said in a statement.

This is the first legislative part of the ‘Fit for 55’ package to decarbonize the EU by 2050 to be approved, which is a strong signal that the EU is determined to move towards climate neutrality and the green transition”, Czech Environment Minister said, Anna Hubáčková, whose country holds the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union. The agreement sends “a strong signal to industry and consumers: Europe is embracing the shift towards zero emission mobility”, said the executive vice president of the European Commission for the European Green Deal, Frans Timmermans, for whom “European car manufacturers are already showing that they are ready to take a step forward, with the arrival of increasingly affordable electric cars on the market”.

In fact, “this agreement will pave the way for a modern and competitive car industry in the EU. The world is changing and we must stay at the forefront of innovation“, affirmed the Czech Minister of Industry and Commerce, Jozef Síkela, for whom the planned “schedule” “makes the objectives attainable for automobile manufacturers”. To this end, the mechanism of regulatory incentives for zero and low emission vehicles until 2030. So if a manufacturer meets certain benchmarks for sales of low and zero emission vehicles it can be rewarded with less stringent CO2 targets.

The co-legislators agreed to increase the reference value to 25% for cars and 17% for vans until 2030. In addition, the agreement includes wording on CO2-neutral fuels whereby, after consultation with stakeholders, the Commission will present a proposal for register vehicles that work exclusively with CO2-neutral fuels after 2035 in accordance with EU legislation, outside the scope of the fleet rules and in accordance with the EU climate neutrality objective.

The pact includes a review clause that will ensure that, in 2026, Brussels thoroughly assesses the progress made in reaching the goals of 100% emission reduction and the need to review these targets in the light of technological developments, including with regard to plug-in hybrid technologies, and the importance of a viable and socially equitable transition to zero emissions. In addition, it includes a reinforcement of other provisions in the regulations, such as, for example, reducing the ceiling of emission credits that manufacturers can receive for eco-innovations that verifiably reduce CO2 emissions on the road, up to 4 g/km per year from 2030 to 2034 (currently set at 7 g/km per year).

Brussels will also develop a common EU methodology, by 2025, to assess the full life cycle of CO2 emissions from cars and vans marketed in the EU, as well as the fuels and energy consumed by these vehicles. On the basis of this methodology, manufacturers will be able, on a voluntary basis, to report to the European Commission on the emissions of the life cycle of the new vehicles that they introduce on the market.

The agreement maintains an exception for small-volume manufacturers until the end of 2035. “We are also starting the process to have in 2025, after an accurate assessment of financial needs, a Just Transition Fund dedicated to employees in the sector and in 2023 a new law will further accelerate the deployment of company fleets“, MEP Pascal Canfin, one of the negotiators for the European Parliament, said on Twitter. The provisional political agreement reached tonight in the tripartite negotiations must be formally adopted by the Council and Parliament. According to the current regulation, every manufacturer must ensure that the average CO2 emissions of its newly registered vehicle fleet in a calendar year do not exceed its specific annual emissions target.

Manufacturers can still put combustion engine vehicles on the market, but if they exceed their emissions target in a given year, they must pay a premium of 95 euros per gram of CO2/km above the target per registered vehicle. Consequently, with the new agreed targets, zero emission vehicles will eventually be cheaper than vehicles running on fossil fuels, according to the Council. I know expect deployment review of an alternative fuels infrastructure (AFIR), which is currently being discussed between the Council and Parliament, will make it possible to develop an infrastructure for recharging vehicles in the Member States.


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