The EU validates the end of thermal engines in new cars in 2035

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The EU validates the end of combustion engines in new cars in 2035

Justin Sullivan Getty Images via Agence France-Presse The European Union will force new cars to stop emitting no CO2, from 2035.

The European Union (EU) ended Monday three weeks of psychodrama linked to the German blockage and validated the end of heat engines in new cars from 2035, central measure of the plan climate of the 27.

The text will force new cars to no longer emit any CO2, effectively banning petrol, diesel and hybrid vehicles, in favor of all-electric vehicles.

“Broad support” was found among the ambassadors of the 27 member countries in Brussels, the Swedish Presidency of the Council of the EU announced. They agreed that this historic regulation be “put on the agenda” for a Tuesday meeting of energy ministers for formal adoption, the final stage of the legislative process.

This text is part of in the European objective of carbon neutrality in 2050.

It marks the end of an industrial era. For more than a century, the Old Continent, cradle of prestigious brands, dominated automotive innovation. At the heart of its know-how, combustion engines considered to be the most efficient in the world.

Berlin had stunned its partners at the beginning of March by blocking the regulation when it had already been approved in mid-February by the MEPs meeting in plenary, after a green light from the Member States, including Germany.

To justify its volte-face, extremely rare at this stage of the procedure, Germany had demanded that the Commission present a proposal opening the way to vehicles running on synthetic fuels.

This technology, controversial and still in development, would consist in producing fuel from CO2 resulting from industrial activities. Defended by top-of-the-range German and Italian manufacturers, it would make it possible to extend the use of thermal engines after 2035.

Contested synthetic fuels


The European Commission and Germany announced on Saturday that they had reached an agreement to unblock the text, which remains unchanged. Brussels has simply undertaken to open the way more clearly to synthetic fuels in a separate proposal which will have to be validated by autumn 2024.

Vehicles equipped with a combustion engine can be registered after 2035 if they use exclusively CO2-neutral fuels, German Transport Minister Volker Wissing said.

In the opinion of many experts, the technology of synthetic fuels has little chance of imposing itself on the market and would only concern, at best, a minority of luxury vehicles.

It is contested by environmental NGOs who consider it costly, energy-intensive and polluting.

The blockade in Berlin was an initiative of the liberals of the FDP, the third party in the ruling coalition behind the Social Democrats (SPD) and the Greens.

This small party, credited with about 5% of voting intentions in national polls, has lost five consecutive regional elections. He hopes to assert himself by posing as a defender of the automobile, betting on the hostility of a large part of the population to the ban on combustion engines.

To ensure the unity of his coalition, the Social Democratic Chancellor Olaf Scholz had preferred to align himself with this request and the Greens let it happen.

Finally, “the text is unchanged. The rule of 100% zero-emission cars in 2035 is therefore maintained”, reacted on Saturday the President of the Environment Committee of the European Parliament Pascal Canfin, assuring that he would be vigilant about respecting the “climate neutrality” of the thermal engines which will be allowed.

The industry has already invested heavily in electric vehicles. Even if they prove their worth, synthetic fuels, which do not exist today, “will not play an important role in the medium term in the segment of passenger cars”, declared recently Markus Duesmann, boss of Audi (Volkswagen Group).

Because of their cost, they will only make sense for a few luxury cars “like Porsche 911s or Ferraris”, points out Center Automotive Research expert Ferdinand Dudenhöffer. Germany.

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