The European Union plans only new electric cars by 2035 ‘without precedent’


After months of negotiations, the European Union reached a political agreement this week to effectively ban new non-electric cars from 2035 onwards.

The agreement, reached at 9 pm on Thursday in Brussels and announced by the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament, amounts to a goal of reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 100 percent for new cars and trucks by 2035.

This agreement will pave the way for a modern and competitive automotive industry in the European Union. The world is changing, and we must remain at the forefront of innovation, Josef Sekila – Minister of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic, which holds the council’s rotating presidency – said in a statement.

The legislation still needs to be formally approved to become law in the European Union, which is one of the largest car markets and home to some of the largest manufacturers. However, approval by the European Council and Parliament is expected, with only minor changes.

Many climate change advocates, who had hoped other governments would follow in the European Union’s lead in effectively banning new gas and diesel vehicles, welcomed the news.

Julia Poliskanova, Senior Director of Vehicles and Electronic Mobility at the Brussels-based Transport and Environment Group, “The days of the carbon-belt combustion engine and belching have finally been numbered.” “It’s been 125 years since Rudolf Diesel revolutionized engine efficiency, but lawmakers have decided that the next chapter will be written by the cleaner and better electric vehicle.”

However, Poliskanova and some other experts were concerned that the measures, although a step towards sustainable transport, were still too slow. Manufacturers that produce smaller fleets of less than 10,000 cars or 22,000 vans annually should have lower goals, at least initially.

This means that specialized manufacturers, including high-end brands such as Lamborghini and Ferrari, will be given more freedom to meet an interim target for 2030, although the ultimate target is expected to be reached by 2035.

The European Automobile Manufacturers Association cautiously welcomed the decision, which they said was “far-reaching” and “without precedent”. But Oliver Zipse, head of the group, said he also needed to know how the EU would help the industry transition, including renewables, public charging infrastructure and access to raw materials.

“Make no mistake, the European auto industry is up to the challenge of providing these zero-emissions cars and trucks,” said Zipse, who is also CEO of German auto giant BMW. “However, we are now keen to see the framework conditions necessary to achieve this goal reflected in EU policies.”

Some conservative critics of the legislation have suggested that a shift towards all-electric cars would increase the cost of new cars in Europe. The result, claimed Jens Jezeki, a German negotiator from the European People’s Party, is that the streets will be filled with old cars as in the capital of Communist-led Cuba.

By today’s agreement, the “Havana effect” has become more realistic. After 2035, our streets may become full of old cars, because new cars are unavailable or unaffordable.

The EPP and others have argued that while emissions must be cut, the legislation is a very blunt tool and will simply result in more flexibility for Chinese and US manufacturers to take business from Europe.

But supporters of the measure said companies would be given plenty of time to switch, with an interim goal of cutting carbon dioxide emissions by 55 percent by 2030 compared to 2021 levels for cars, and a 50 percent cut for pickup trucks.

“With these goals, we create clarity for the auto industry and stimulate innovation and investments for car manufacturers,” Jan Hetema, Dutch politician and chief negotiator in the European Parliament, said in a statement.

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