Emissions-reducing regulations being considered by Brussels could soon mark the end of the road for the internal combustion engine, according to a report. The radical proposal has faced pushback from the bloc’s auto makers.
New cars powered by diesel and gasoline could be barred by the bloc in an effort to meet a zero-emissions target for vehicles sold beyond 2035, according to several EU officials who spoke with Politico.
The revolutionary rule could be included in the European Union’s ‘Green Deal’, which seeks to make the bloc “climate neutral” by 2050. The European Commission could potentially increase its near-term 2030 target to require a 60% cut in car emissions, a far more ambitious goal than the 37.5% reduction outlined in the current plan. The target could be raised to 100% by 2035 – essentially outlawing new automobiles with combustion engines within the next 14 years, the officials explained to the outlet.
It’s still unclear whether the proposal will make it into the final version of the 2030 plan, which is set to be published on July 14. The roadmap, along with the rest of the Green Deal, will then go before the European Parliament for approval.
The initiative has already triggered a strong negative response from the bloc’s automobile manufacturers. Hildegard Muller, who leads Germany’s VDA car lobby, said that the regulation would not only be the “end of the internal combustion engine, but also the end of plug-in hybrids.”
Another leading voice in the industry argued that the rule would limit consumer options.
“If you need a new car in 2036, there won’t be a choice,” Sigrid de Vries, who runs the EU’s components industry lobby CLEPA, told Politico. “The car will have an electric engine, regardless of whether it fits the need or not, is affordable or not, or if there is green energy and the infrastructure to charge it or not.”
While the internal combustion engine still rules the road, some carmakers, such as Volvo and Volkswagen, have already signaled that they want to transition to electric automobiles by the end of the decade.
The EU isn’t alone in eyeing a potential ban on carbon-emitting vehicles. During last week’s G7 summit in Cornwall, the UK delegation urged fellow member states to phase out the production of gasoline and diesel automobiles over the next decade. In a declaration released at the summit’s conclusion, the group said it had committed to speeding up its transition away from “diesel and petrol cars.”
It remains to be seen if such plans are actually feasible. Last month, lobbies for Europe’s car industry accused Brussels of trying to implement regulations that they claimed would lead to a ban on internal combustion engines starting in 2025.
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