From 2035, petrol or diesel-powered cars will no longer be sold throughout Europe

Energy - November 16, 2022

After a long meeting, an agreement was finally reached

The president of the Environment Committee of the European Parliament Pascal Canfin has defined as “historic” the decision taken between Euro Chamber, the EU Council and the Commission in recent days, on stopping the sale of polluting cars. Cars with internal combustion and powered, therefore, by petrol or diesel, will no longer be able to be marketed throughout the Union from 2035.

The path that will lead to a revolution of this magnitude will logically be gradual and will involve a 55% reduction in the emissions of all cars sold and 50% of those of all commercial vehicles by 2030. Small manufacturers, in any case, will be able to continue to produce cars with combustion engines until 2035 by virtue of a derogation established in the summer, called the “Motor Valley amendment”, demanded in a loud voice especially in Italy, home of limited productions and sports cars companies.

The first requests, by manufacturers and representatives of the various European states where cars are produced, provided for a reduction of only 90% of combustion vehicles starting from 2035 and not, as later established, by the same year and, due to these controversial conditions, the whole agreement seemed to be far away but, thanks to compromises defined in relation to the gradualness of the change, an important joint decision was reached.

During the meeting, were also established the necessary conditions for the creation of a so-called “transition fund” aimed at employees in the sector, who could suffer economic damage linked to the decisions of the commission, and which will take into consideration the real financial needs of the construction companies. Already in 2023, then, a new law will encourage the spread of company fleets, preparatory to a gradual transition to the new generation of mobility.

The meeting, between the competent bodies, also made it possible to foresee the softening of the requests for pollution reduction and related CO2 production, towards those companies that will be able to demonstrate certain benchmarks in the sale of zero-rated or low emissions vehicles, at least until 2030. Car and commercial vehicle manufacturers will undergo thorough reviews by the Commission from 2026 to carefully assess progress towards achieving the 100% reduction in car pollution taking into account the technological evolution, especially as regards hybrid propulsions.

The road now seems to have been traced, but the agreement will still have to be officially approved by the Euro Chamber and the EU Council and effectively establishes the definitive future ban on cars with combustion engines. The only possible impediments to the final signing could derive from new considerations by analysts, in relation to a significant worsening of the global geo-political situation which would see an increase in the use of electricity, way more expensive, in the automotive sector. The increase in the cost of raw materials related to the production of new generation cars and commercial vehicles, caused by the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, will inevitably affect the European Union decisions, in the coming months, pushing it to re-evaluate , albeit marginal, of the timing and any conditions to be submitted to car manufacturing companies, already heavily affected by an unprecedented energy crisis and which will hardly allow the conversion of production plants, hitherto used for thermic engine machines, into high-quality  industrial plants with the technological level needed for the assembly of electric propulsion vehicles.

According to Carlos Tavares, CEO of Stellantis, when asked about the topic at the recent Paris Motor Show, Europe will have to do everything possible to help companies invest capital and workforce on the new industrial approach envisaged in the production of electric vehicles, avoiding economic and human resource losses that would weigh in a devastating way on the conditions of the families employed in the automobile sector.