BRUSSELS: As part of a huge plan to combat climate change published on Wednesday, the European Commission intends to phase out the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2035.
According to one of the dozen proposed legislation unveiled in Brussels, car emissions must drop by 55 percent by 2030 and be zero by 2035. “As a result, all new cars registered after 2035 will be zero emission,” according to the plan’s announcement.
“However, prohibiting a single technology at this time is not a sensible way forward,” it continued, alluding to goals to reduce road traffic emissions to zero by 2035.
According to draft climate rules, the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) supports efforts to make the EU carbon neutral by 2050.
In fact, this means that starting on that date, all automobiles and light vans sold in the EU will be battery-powered electric cars, which currently account for less than a tenth of new registrations.
Some in the industrial lobby will undoubtedly resist the move as it goes through a lengthy negotiation and writing process, as well as scrutiny in the European parliament.
The initiative was hailed as a “turning point” for green driving by the pressure group Transport and Environment. “The concern is that carmakers will only have to start selling such cleaner automobiles in 2030,” executive director William Todts said.
“Our world cannot afford another nine years of big rhetoric but little action from the auto industry.” Member nations such as France, Germany, Spain, and Italy, who have substantial industries producing traditional combustion engine vehicles and hybrids that sustain hundreds of thousands of jobs, are wary.
Politicians fear that as a result of carbon taxes, motorists will see their gasoline expenses raise as they are pressured to sell their gas-guzzlers and acquire new electric automobiles.
The recent “yellow vest” protests in France illustrated the popular rage that environmental regulations on automobiles may elicit.
However, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen emphasized that the transition was necessary if Europe was to fulfill its carbon reduction commitments, and that the people supported it.
“About a dozen significant automotive businesses in Germany and around Europe have indicated that they would switch their fleet to totally emission-free vehicles,” she said.
“We see that people want these innovations; there has been a big growth in the number of individuals signing up for electric vehicles,” she added, noting that the market in the United States has tripled in the last year.
The idea would “only be viable with required targets for the ramp-up of charging and refueling infrastructure in all member states,” according to Oliver Zipse, president of the ACEA lobby organization and CEO of BMW.
“This will be critical for charging the millions of electric vehicles that European automakers will launch in the next years,” he said. Although motorized road transport is the most prevalent mode of transport in Europe, it accounts for 15% of the bloc’s greenhouse gas emissions, and Brussels aspires to be carbon-neutral by 2050.
The road vehicle market has been heavily damaged by the economic fallout from the coronavirus outbreak, but electric automobiles have been an exception, with growth quickening.
With 356,000 new vehicles registered in the first five months of this year, battery-powered automobiles accounted for 8% of new registrations in Western Europe, surpassing the total for the entire year of 2019.