Europe is doing away with combustion engine cars.On Thursday, the EU Council and the European Parliament reached an agreement that effectively bans combustion engine cars and vehicles from 2035 onwards. More precisely, the agreement – which is yet to be formally adopted and may change before that happens – targets a 55 percent CO2 emission reduction target for new cars and 50 percent reduction for new vans by 2030 (compared to 2021 levels), as well as a 100 percent CO2 emission reduction target for both new cars and vans by 2035. The proposal is part of the EU’s “Fit for 55 package,” which aims to reduce greenhouse emissions in the EU by at least 55 percent by the year 2030. “This agreement will pave the way for the modern and competitive automotive industry in the EU. The world is changing, and we must remain at the forefront of innovation. I believe we can take advantage of this technological transition. The envisaged timeline also makes the goals achievable for car manufacturers,” Jozef Síkela, Czech minister of industry and trade, said in a statement.The proposal comes with a couple of caveats. One clause allows for vehicles running on so-called CO2 neutral fuels; these are fuels which do emit some carbon dioxide during consumption, but were created in such a way that at least as much carbon dioxide was captured during production. Also, small volume manufacturers (think sports car makers) are exempt from the clause that requires emission reductions from 2030 onwards, though they, too, will have to fully reduce emissions in their cars by the end of 2035.
Not everyone is happy with the proposed pace of changes. Greenpeace EU claims the deadline “falls well short of the EU’s climate commitments and will cost drivers hundreds of billions in fuel in the midst of a spiralling energy crisis.””The EU is taking the scenic route, and that route ends in disaster. A European 2035 phase-out of fossil fuel-burning cars is not quick enough: new cars with internal combustion engines should be banned by 2028 at the latest,” Greenpeace EU transport campaigner Lorelei Limousin said in a statement.