Environment

EU strikes deal to ban the sale of new diesel and gasoline cars from 2035

An electric car being charged in Germany. The European Union is moving forward with plans to ramp up the number of EVs on its roads.
Tomekbudujedomek | Moment | Getty Images

The EU’s plans to phase out the sale of new diesel and gasoline cars and vans took a big step forward this week after the European Council and European Parliament came to a provisional agreement on the issue.

In a statement Thursday evening, the European Parliament said EU negotiators had agreed on a deal related to the European Commission’s proposal for “zero-emission road mobility by 2035.”

The plan seeks to slash CO2 emissions from new vans and passenger cars by 100% from 2021 levels and would constitute an effective ban on new diesel and gasoline vehicles of these types. The European Commission is the EU’s executive branch.

The parliament said smaller automakers producing up to 10,000 new cars or 22,000 new vans could be granted a derogation, or exemption, until the end of 2035.

It added that “those responsible for less than 1,000 new vehicle registrations per year continue to be exempt.”

Formal approval of the deal from the European Council and European Parliament is required before it takes effect.

Industry reactions

Thursday’s news was welcomed by Transport & Environment, a Brussels-based campaign group. “The days of the carbon spewing, pollution belching combustion engine are finally numbered,” said Julia Poliscanova, T&E’s senior director for vehicles and e-mobility.

Others commenting on the plans included the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association. In a statement, it said it’s now urging “European policy makers to shift into higher gear to deploy the enabling conditions for zero-emission mobility.”

“This extremely far-reaching decision is without precedent,” said its chair, Oliver Zipse, who is the CEO of BMW. “It means that the European Union will now be the first and only world region to go all-electric.”

“Make no mistake, the European automobile industry is up to the challenge of providing these zero-emission cars and vans,” he added.

“However, we are now keen to see the framework conditions which are essential to meet this target reflected in EU policies.”

“These include an abundance of renewable energy, a seamless private and public charging infrastructure network, and access to raw materials.”

During an interview with CNBC earlier this month, Carlos Tavares, the CEO of Stellantis, was asked about the EU’s plans to phase out the sale of new ICE cars and vans by 2035. ICE vehicles are powered by a regular internal combustion engine.

It’s “clear that the decision to ban pure ICEs is a purely dogmatic decision,” said Tavares, who was speaking to CNBC’s Charlotte Reed at the Paris Motor Show.

He added that Europe’s political leaders should be “more pragmatic and less dogmatic.”

“I think there is the possibility — and the need — for a more pragmatic approach to manage the transition.”

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