The European Parliament sounds the death knell for thermal cars for 2035

After a very close vote, the European Parliament took a decision. MEPs, meeting in plenary session in Strasbourg, decided on the future of thermal vehicles until 2035.

a little context

The adoption of zero CO2 emission regulations will inevitably change the automotive industry. However, the decision to adopt a measure of this magnitude does not happen overnight.

  • In January 2022, the European Economic and Social Committee and the European Committee of the Regions took a position on the proposal for zero CO2 emissions.
  • In March 2022, the Council of Europe held discussions on the direction to be taken by the “Fit for 55″ reform package. This package consists of a set of proposals from the European Commission aimed at achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.
  • Then, on May 11, 2022, the European Parliament organized a debate with the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI Committee). This time, the discussion focused on the CO2 emission reduction target for 2035. Specifically, it was proposed to reduce CO2 emissions from new cars to zero.
  • The normative text was finally approved in plenary on June 8, 2022.

A controversial decision?

The first step was taken towards the end of thermal vehicles. On 8 June 2022, the European Parliament decided to ban the sale of thermal vehicles from 2035.

Indeed, the decision taken by Parliament was not without criticism. The validation of the text of the regulation collected 339 votes in favour, 249 votes against and 24 abstentions. The deputies who voted against considered that thirteen years is too little given the impact that the regulation will have.

So what is the effect of the regulation passed by Parliament? Basically, it bans the sale of new gasoline and diesel vehicles from 2035. This decision caused an uproar because the hybrid vehicles also fall into this category.

More specifically, the EPP (European People’s Party) tabled an amendment in which it proposes a solution other than “zero CO2 emissions”. In fact, it has proposed to reduce car emissions by 90% by 2035. Thus, sales of hybrid vehicles could continue to increase. However, the amendment was eventually defeated.

Gradual reduction of emissions

According to the plan orientation Fit for 55, Parliament voted in favor of the objective of reducing CO2 emissions by 100%. However, the energy transition project implied by this decision is quite ambitious.

As expected, the reduction will have to be implemented gradually. CO2 emissions must be reduced by 15% inside 2025 compared to 2021. Likewise, for 2030new passenger cars and new light commercial vehicles will have to reduce their emissions of 55% and 50% respectively.

Which manufacturers are exempt from this decision?

For now, the regulation does not apply to all manufacturers. An amendment was voted in favor of manufacturers of luxury cars. Indeed, manufacturers representing less than 1,000 registered vehicles per year are exempt from the measure.

Likewise, manufacturers representing between 1,000 and 10,000 passenger cars will be able to sell thermal vehicles by 2036. This category includes brands such as Ferrari, Lamborghini, Rolls-Royce, Maserati and Aston Martin.

The future of the automotive industry

Of course, this decision raises many questions. How will consumers buy a cheap electric car? Will production industries be relocated to their respective home countries? Will there be enough charging stations to meet the increased demand?

It is clear that the implementation of this measure is a challenge from all points of view. The coming years will certainly be crucial for achieving the objectives set by Parliament.

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