The European Parliament has finally agreed to the ban of new sales of petrol and diesel cars in member countries by 2035, aiming at fully transitioning to electric vehicles to tackle the climate crisis. The new law marks a big step for the EU’s overall climate target to reduce its emissions by 55% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels but it falls short on other vehicles beyond cars.
Those behind the law had argued that it would give EU carmakers a clear timeframe to switch production to EVs, boosting investment to counter competition from China and the US and delivering on climate targets. Opponents had said that the European industry wasn’t ready to make such a shift to EVs, putting thousands of jobs at risk. However, EU officials say the move will make the EU more competitive, not less.
“Let me remind you that between last year and the end of this year, China will bring 80 models of electric cars to the international market,” EU Vice President Frans Timmermans told lawmakers at the session in the parliament. “These are good cars. These are cars that will be more and more affordable, and we need to compete with that.”
Jens Gieseke, a member of the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP), said that the argument that electric cars are cheaper to run was now “null and void” due to the crisis of soaring energy costs. Meanwhile, Karima Delli, president of the transport committee, said this was a “historic vote” and that there won’t be any petrol or diesel cars on the roads by 2050.
Cars are the main source of transportation emissions, according to the International Energy Agency. In the EU, cars and vans are responsible for around 15% of all carbon emissions. Member states, the EU Commission and parliament’s negotiations had agreed in October last year on reducing CO2 emissions from new cars, which has now been officialized.
A higher standard on transportation
With its new legislation, the European Union is now the world’s first entire region to shift entirely to electric vehicles. There were similar plans adopted by the states of California and New York in the United States, which announced bans on the sale of gas-powered gas. The EU is the world’s second-largest producer of motor vehicles behind China.
Many carmakers in Europe have already announced investments in electrification, such as Volkswagen, which said that from 2033 it will only produce EVs in Europe. Still, the law gives the industry some flexibility. Small carmakers producing less than 10,000 vehicles per year can negotiate to have weaker emissions reduction targets until 2036.
Also, the new rules don’t apply to trucks, which are also responsible for air and climate pollution. Claiming that the technology for electric trucks is not as developed as with cars, the European Commission is asking new trucks and long-haul buses to reach a 90% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 2019 levels by 2040. Not really what campaigners expected, but still progress.
The EU expects to have about 30 million EVs on the roads by 2030. Last year sales of EVs rose 28%, with more than 1.1 million vehicles sold, especially in Germany. The European Parliament is now working on a new directive for batteries for EVs to ensure they can all be repurposed, remanufactured or recycled, banning those with hazardous substances.