SDG 13 | climate action
The industry supports the community initiative, but calls for more investment in infrastructure to avoid the collapse of the sector
“Game over for the internal combustion engine in Europe.” With these words, the NGO Transport and Environment celebrated the agreement to put an end to gasoline and diesel cars in the European Union. However, the pact has several exceptions, such as, for example, that you have money to pay for this exclusivity.
This week, the environment ministers of the 27 member states of the Union have given the green light to the Brussels proposal to reduce CO2 emissions from new cars by 100% from 2035. This means, de facto, banning the registration of combustion vehicles from that date, except if you are Ferrari, Lamborghini or other luxury brands.
This was established in the European Parliament several weeks ago and has also been ratified by the ministers of the branch at their meeting in Luxembourg that lasted until the wee hours of the morning.
A measure of grace promoted by several Italian MEPs who have achieved a twelve-month moratorium for niche brands that manufacture less than 10,000 vehicles a year.
From 2035 it will not be possible to register new cars powered by gasoline or diesel
In the first category, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Aston Martin, Rolls-Royce, among others, will be able to sell gasoline vehicles until December 31, 2035. Paradoxically, this exception that has been dubbed the ‘Ferrari amendment’, for the time being, does not it could be applied to the ‘Il Cavalino Rampante’ brand that sold more than 11,000 units last year. In the case of the most exclusive firms with super limited editions with less than 1,000 production vehicles, such as Bugatti, the moratorium extends beyond 2036.
The industry calls for investment
In the absence of a new ratification by the European Parliament, it seems that there is no going back on the roadmap set by Brussels that will gradually remove high-emission cars from the roads. “What we want are zero-emission cars,” says Frans Timmermans, executive vice president of the European Commission.
Before turning off the new combustion engines, the countries of the Union have established an intermediate goal in 2030 with a reduction in emissions of 55% for cars and 50% for vans. Currently, automobiles represent about 15% of total CO2 emissions in the countries of the community bloc. “Any new objective must be accompanied by new tools at the same level of demand if compliance is to be possible,” say sources from Anfac, the employers’ association of automobile manufacturers in Spain.
Last 2021, car brands sold 9.7 million vehicles in the European Union, where half of them were diesel and gasoline. To which could be added 20% of electric hybrids, which also have a combustion engine. Almost six million vehicles that will not be able to be registered in little more than a decade.
Thanks to the ‘Ferrari amendment’, brands that manufacture less than 10,000 vehicles will have a moratorium until 2036
Meanwhile, the weight of electric and plug-in hybrids hardly reach 20% of the market share in the Union. «It is essential to increase the deployment of charging points, with new ambitious but binding objectives; taxation that positively supports decarbonisation and focuses on taxing use, not purchase; and a reform of the demand assistance plans to make them more effective”, they assure from Anfac.
However, the prohibition of new registration of these vehicles will not serve to stop seeing gasoline and diesel cars on Spanish streets and highways. The average age of the automobile fleet in Spain is currently 13 years old. “One thing is what the administrations say and another is what the citizens want in the coming years,” answered José Vicente de los Mozos, head of Renault in Spain and industrial director of the brand at a global level.
Despite this, the brands are already working on expanding the catalog of zero-emission cars at their dealerships. “We are promoting electrification at full speed, setting the course to sell only 100% electric passenger cars in Europe in 2030 and with more than 75 BEVs expected on the market by that date,” reply the spokespersons for Stellantis, the brand that brings together firms such as Fiat, Peugeot, Citroen. “The automobile industry will fully contribute to the goal of a carbon-neutral Europe in 2050,” say BMW officials.
However, this new measure, which still has to be endorsed in the European Parliament, raises doubts. “The Council’s decision raises important questions that have not yet been answered, such as how Europe will guarantee strategic access to key raw materials for electric mobility,” warn spokesmen for the German car company.
Along the same lines, but in a national key, the Spanish employers’ association of car and truck manufacturers launches the alert: «If now the Spanish Government decides to support a new acceleration of the objectives, it is evident that these new measures are even more necessary and urgent . If they are not adopted, our industry and our employment may face a serious problem given the great demand of the new objectives that are intended to be approved.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.