The European Union has formally proposed an effective ban on new petrol and diesel car sales as part of sweeping climate initiatives designed to help the 27 countries meet their target of net zero emissions by 2050.
The European Commission proposes a 55 per cent cut in CO2 emissions from cars by 2030 (from 2021 levels), and a 100 per cent cut in emissions by 2035, making it impossible to sell new fossil fuel cars from that date.
Some analysts suggest that the sale of new petrol and diesel cars will end before 2035, because of the zero emissions target for passenger cars.
“The science tells us we need to halve emissions by 2030, so for road transport it’s simple – get rid of the internal combustion engine,” Helen Clarkson, chief executive of the Climate Group, told Reuters.
Researchers IHS Markit says that if the proposal is ratified by the EU parliament, it will mean that all new cars registered by 2035 will be zero emissions vehicles (no hybrids or plug in hybrids). “It effectively amounts to a ban on ICE vehicles by that point,” it says.
“To meet 2030 standards of 55 per cent reduction to 2021 level, we may require 55 per cent battery electric vehicles in the overall fleet, which equates tro an overall battery demand of 468GWh (of batteries) by 2030,” it says.
“However, for 2035, we will indeed require significant investment into battery electric vehicles and state-wide charging infrastructure.”
The proposed new targets are a significant acceleration of previous poilicy settings, although countries outside the EU have already gone harder and faster, with Norway banning new petrol and diesel car sales from 2025, and the UK from 2030.
To address charging needs, the EU is proposing legislation that would require each country to install public charging points every 60kms – and expects up to 120 billion euros to be spent on public and private chargers by 2040.
The proposals will need to be negotiated and approved by EU member states and the European Parliament, which could take around two years,”” Reuters says.
Most major car makers have already announced major investment in new battery electric vehicles, although this new target would represent a rapid increase in ambition.
Volkswagen has said it will stop selling cars with combustion engines in Europe by 2035, and later in China and the US, while Stellantis said last week it would invest more than 30 billion euros by 2025 on electrifying its line-up, but did not specify a target.
As part of a compromise deal with some car makers, the EU proposes to allow plug in hybrids to be counted as zero emission cars, but only until 2030.
Giles Parkinson is founder and editor of The Driven, and also edits and founded the Renew Economy and One Step Off The Grid web sites. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years, is a former business and deputy editor of the Australian Financial Review, and owns a Tesla Model 3.