The European Union will effectively ban the sale or registration of new combustion-engine cars starting 2035. This move, agreed by the EU’s executive arm,
, and member states, will speed up the switch to full electric vehicles.
Before that though, the deal also included a 55 percent cut in carbon dioxide emissions for new cars sold from 2030 versus 2021 levels—higher than the existing 37.5 percent target reduction.
Effectively, this means the end of internal combustion engine—a technology that was actually invented in the region way back in the 19th century.
Of course, the EU ban on ICEs has far reaching consequences. As the world’s largest trading bloc, the EU has a reputation for setting standards globally, and is home to some of the biggest car manufacturers. In fact, this has set the tone elsewhere including in China and
which have followed the EU’s move in banning or drastically cutting back the sale of new combustion engine vehicles between 2030 to 2050.
In the U.S., California also mandated a gradual phase out of vehicles that run on combustion engines, with only zero-emission cars and a small portion of plug-in hybrids allowed by 2035. It will likely be adopted by 15 other U.S. states that have signed onto California’s existing zero-emission vehicle program.
Back to the EU, there are few exceptions to the new rules. Both the council and parliament agreed that niche manufacturers such as Ferrari and Lamborghini, which produce a small number of vehicles, will receive a one-year delay on the emissions targets.
There’s also a “non-binding element” that calls on the commission to propose allowing the registration of vehicles running exclusively on carbon-neutral fuels after 2035 was included in the final deal.
Some groups criticized the deal, suggesting it could lead to a buildup over time of older emissions-spewing cars rather than new generations of potentially more efficient ones.
“With today’s agreement, a ‘Havana effect’ is becoming more realistic,” Jens Gieseke, a lawmaker and negotiator from the conservative European People’s Party, said in a statement. “After 2035, our streets might become full of vintage cars, because new cars are not available or not affordable. Today’s deal slammed shut the door to new technological developments and put all the eggs in one basket. This is a mistake.”
On the other hand, green campaigners welcomed the ban, which will see the EU become the largest economy to phase out sales of polluting vehicles. Cars and vans are responsible for 16 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions in Europe.