Even if voted favourably, the sales ban on new cars powered by combustion engines won't come into effect in the European Union until 2035. However, many companies have already announced plans to go completely electric well before the middle of the next decade. Jaguar will bid adieu to the ICE as early as 2025, with Renault, Volvo, Ford of Europe, Bentley, and Rolls-Royce to follow suit by 2030.
In seven years' time, most (if not all) Stellantis brands will abandon petrol and diesel engines. Audi will launch only electric cars from 2026 and intends to end production of ICE models by 2033. Archrivals BMW and Mercedes are committed to going EV-only even before 2030 should that become mandatory in certain markets part of the EU.
Volkswagen, Skoda, and Cupra/SEAT have expressed their desire to transition to an electric portfolio by launching many zero-emission models in the coming years. Outside of Euro brands, Kia and Hyundai will sell only electric cars from 2035 on the Old Continent, five years after the luxury brand Genesis.
Renault Megane R.S. Ultime (2023)
As shocking as Luca de Meo's following statement may seem, automakers have clearly moved away from developing new combustion engines from scratch. Speaking at a Politico event, the Renault Group CEO said:
"I don't think there's anybody ... that's developing a completely new engine in Europe. Nobody is, you know, from scratch developing a new combustion engine in Europe. All the money is going to electric or hydrogen technology."
Some of the combustion engines available today will be discontinued in the coming years while the remaining ones will have to be updated to meet Euro 7 regulations. Of course, diesels and large-displacement petrol engines are the most vulnerable and will be the first to go extinct. Bugatti is phasing out the W16 while the V12 is found in only a handful of cars. The V10 is also living on borrowed time considering Audi is killing the R8 and Lamborghini is planning a Huracan successor with a downsized hybrid setup.
There is a glimmer of hope the ICE won't be phased out completely as synthetic fuels could evolve into an alternative to battery-powered and hydrogen EVs. A report published by Reuters earlier this week claimed the European Commission is drafting a plan to allow automakers to sell new combustion-engined cars running on e-fuel after 2035.
Luca de Meo described e-fuels as being "kind of a niche solution" but admitted they do represent "an opportunity." Renault Group's head honcho went on to say production would have to ramp up considerably to have strong supply chains.