The European Union took another step today toward banning the sale of new petrol and diesel cars. The Parliament approved the new CO2 emissions reduction targets last year, with the latest vote finally pushing the legislation into law. It states that automakers must reduce CO2 emissions from new cars to zero by 2035.
Automakers will have another target to reach before the cutoff date. The law states that automakers must slash CO2 emissions by 55 percent for new cars and by 50 percent for vans by 2030. The next several years will also see the EU alter its zero- and low-emission vehicle incentives, removing them entirely by 2030.
Automakers that produce between 1,000 and 10,000 new cars a year could have until 2036 to meet the emissions targets. Manufacturers registering fewer than 1,000 new vehicles per year could continue to be exempt from the new rules.
The new law effectively bans the sale of new gasoline and diesel cars in the 27-member bloc. However, it doesn’t specifically mention banning internal combustion engines as the law dictates the emissions targets and not how they are achieved. This leaves open the door for synthetic fuels and hydrogen power.
Porsche began synthetic fuel production late last year, which is just one avenue for automakers looking outside of battery-electric vehicles. Even Lamborghini expressed interest in exploring alternative fuels, with Toyota experimenting with hydrogen-fuelled combustion engines. The future isn’t set on BEVs just yet.
While 2035 is 12 years away, the new law will have global ramifications as automakers work to adhere to it. Many companies have already announced plans to transition their lineups exclusively to battery-electric vehicles. Ford announced in 2021 that it plans to sell only electric cars in Europe by 2030, supporting the bloc’s 2035 ban. Mini, Volkswagen, Jaguar, Bentley, and others are following a similar path toward electrifying their lineups.
In the US, states are banning the sale of petrol and diesel cars in place of federal regulations. California approved a ruling in August 2022, followed by Oregon in December, effectively banning the sale of new combustion-powered cars. New York is another state implementing such a ban.