Ban on internal combustion vehicles from 2035: How manufacturers and climate protectionists react
After 2035, no new combustion engines will be allowed to be sold in the EU.
Instead, manufacturers are to switch to alternatives such as purely battery-electric or hydrogen drives. By 339 votes to 249, MEPs approved this much-discussed draft law of the EU Commission. Now the Council of Ministers has to decide on the bill, after which the legislative chamber of the member states and the Parliament will negotiate the final version of the law.
It is expected that the other bodies will follow the decision of the parliamentarians, that the de facto end of combustion vehicles will not be changed and that the regulation will come into force as decided by the parliamentarians from 2035.
Specifically, the regulation sets maximum CO2 emission levels for passenger cars and light commercial vehicles and states that these vehicles may no longer emit CO2 from 2035. This means that the loophole about synthetic fuels, even if they are produced in a climate-neutral way, also remains closed - because the harmful climate gas is also released when e-fuels are burned, and their production is also very expensive and energy-intensive.
According to expert calculations, more than one-fifth of all emissions of climate-damaging CO2 in the EU are caused by road traffic, through the combustion of fossil fuels such as petrol and diesel. This high proportion is to be significantly reduced to achieve the goal of a climate-neutral Europe in 2050.
The decision of the EU parliamentarians will probably finally mark the turning point towards electromobility and, according to the current state of affairs, leaves no possibility of bringing new cars with combustion engines onto the market in Europe after 2035. The car industry has a good 13 years to prepare for this fundamental transformation, from the large manufacturers to the countless suppliers.
"An ambitious but achievable goal".
Some carmakers are thrilled, others slightly contrite about the decision. Volvo, for example, which long ago committed to selling only e-cars in Europe from as early as 2030, rejoiced on Twitter at the "Great news". Mercedes also welcomes the result of the vote. In its reaction, the Volkswagen Group points to the challenge that will now be facing the industry: The phasing out of internal combustion engines in 2035 is "an ambitious but achievable goal" and the path to electromobility is now "irreversible". It is the only ecologically, technologically and economically sensible way to replace combustion engines as quickly as possible.
At Porsche, on the other hand - a great advocate of e-fuels - the gears are likely to grate: after all, if the law becomes reality, the legendary 911 with its roaring boxer engine will no longer be allowed to be sold from 2035. Porsche has so far ruled out the electrification of the sports car legend.
BMW is not necessarily enthusiastic either. CEO Oliver Zipse, who is also president of the European manufacturers' association ACEA, says: "Because of the volatility and uncertainty we are experiencing day by day around the world, and long-term regulation that goes beyond this decade is premature at this early stage". Instead, "a transparent midway review is needed to define post-2030 targets", Zipse says.
"There is a threat of a complete standstill in the drive turnaround for the rest of the decade"
Environmentalists, on the other hand, say the regulation is not decisive enough. "This voting result in the EU Parliament is a bitter setback for climate protection in transport and torpedoes all efforts to make Europe independent of fossil oil more quickly," said Jürgen Resch, national director of Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH). "With the Commission's lax requirements, there is a threat of a complete standstill in the drive turnaround for the rest of the decade."
The phasing out of internal combustion engines in 2035 is far too late, Resch criticised. "The escalating climate crisis does not give us the time to flush millions of new internal combustion cars onto Europe's roads for another 13 years, which in turn will then have to rely on climate-damaging fuel for 15 years or even longer," DUH demands that the member states should now push for a significant tightening of the regulations in the EU Council and bring forward the phase-out of combustion cars to 2030.
The climate protection movement Fridays for Future would like to see new combustion engines disappear even sooner: 2035 is "ten years too late" to achieve the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees - as agreed in 2015 at the UN climate conference in Paris, the activists said on Twitter.