The European Commission wants to ban sales of all new cars fitted with diesel, gasoline, and hybrid engines by 2035 but according to many industry specialists this strategy is way too aggressive. Some – like Renault’s boss Luca de Meo – even say this move could actually have a negative impact on the environment and society.
Speaking during the Financial Times’ Future of the Car summit, de Meo explained that switching too fast to fully electric personal mobility is probably not the answer to save the planet. This may sound a little confusing at a glance, but the French company’s top dog said that putting all your money on EV technologies would cut off investments in fossil-burning engines, which may become more polluting.
“The first thing I want to say is that Renault is obviously very committed to EVs,” de Meo said. “We started very early here, and we continue to believe that EV and maybe hydrogen can be a good solution for some applications. But if you look at the data, it is apparent that combustion-engine sales - including hybrids - have yet to reach their peak. There are challenges, across societal, financial, and ecological perspectives that should be considered.”
De Meo is not the first industry executive who expresses his vision that switching to electric vehicles too soon could actually harm the environment and society. Just recently, Volkswagen Group’s CEO Herbert Diess said it’s probably too early for the industry to move entirely to electric power. He held a speech during the same summit where he said the customer demand probably exists but the infrastructure that supports the EV manufacturing and operation is not ready yet.
Gallery: Renault Megane E-Tech Electric (2021)
BMW Group CEO Oliver Zipse is also not a fan of banning internal combustion engines soon. Last year, he declared that stopping all ICE sales too soon would hurt BMW and other German automakers and wouldn't "help the climate or anyone else." Another problem de Meo pointed out during the summit is that the price parity between EVs and fossil-powered cars was expected around 2025 but that might change becuase of "raw material inflation."