The European Parliament on Tuesday approved legislation that will ban by 2035 the sale of new cars and vans that emit C02 emissions, which means vehicles still equipped with an internal-combustion engine will effectively be banned from sale across the European Union.

The rule calls for 55% less CO2 emissions from new cars by 2030 versus 2021 levels as an interim goal, and eventually the 100% target by 2035. For vans, it will be a 50% reduction by 2030 and 100% by 2035.

The proposal to reduce CO2 from light vehicles 100% by 2035, which forms part of an overarching plan for the E.U. to become climate neutral by 2050, was first made by the European Commission in 2021.

The European Council will now have to formally endorse the rule before it passes into law.

Unlike similar plans in California and New York state, which classify certain plug-in hybrids as zero-emission vehicles, the E.U.’s target pushes for fully electric vehicles including battery- and hydrogen-electric vehicles.

However, there’s potentially still some life left in the E.U. for the internal-combustion engine in light vehicles. Since the rule focuses on CO2 emissions, rather than the type of powertrain, there may be loopholes for internal-combustion vehicles running on carbon-neutral fuels like hydrogen or synthetic fuel, a move Germany seeks.

In addition, automakers producing fewer than 10,000 vehicles per year will be able to negotiate weaker targets until having to meet the 100% target by 2036. And any automakers producing fewer than 1,000 vehicles per year will be exempt altogether.

“These targets create clarity for the car industry and stimulate innovation and investments for car manufacturers,” Dutch politician Jan Huitema said in a statement. “Purchasing and driving zero-emission cars will become cheaper for consumers and a second-hand market will emerge more quickly.”



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