It was a matter of reaching a final agreement and it has been achieved. The European Union will ban the sale of combustion vehicles beyond 2035, after the European Parliament and the negotiators of the countries reached a final agreement on the wording of the text.
This wording, in addition, has some peculiarities that are worth reviewing, because little by little pressure will be put on vehicles to become more and more electrified, with harsh emission standards along the way. It is the first agreement within the Fit 55 package with which it is expected to drastically reduce polluting emissions.
This first agreement comes after the European negotiators and the nationals of each country have reached an agreement on the drafting of the final text, for which a final definitive step remains. However the agreement has been approved in its drafting by the Commission and the European Parliament and the Council (the member countries), will make the latter a mere formality.
Nous venons de finar les négociaciones sur les standards CO2 des voitures. Historical decision of 🇪🇺 for the climate that definitively confirms the objective of 100% zero emissions vehicles in 2035 with intermediate stages in 2025 and 2030. (1/2)
— Pascal Canfin (@pcanfin) October 27, 2022
Goodbye to combustion in 2035… or sooner
The most striking of all that has been approved is, without a doubt, this: no vehicles will be sold with combustion engines as of 2035. Neither hybrid of any kind, nor plug-in. With the exception of some exceptions that we will now comment on, the new cars that are sold after this date will not be able to expel polluting emissions into the atmosphere.
However, the hard goals achieved will mean that the days of pure combustion vehicles are numbered. Among the intermediate steps to be taken, it has been proposed that manufacturers reduce their maximum polluting emissions by 55% compared to the maximum limits of 2021 already in 2030, when before this last wording a reduction of 37.5% was proposed.
This means that, if they do not want to receive a severe fine (at the moment it is 95 euros per gram of CO2 exceeded and per registered car), manufacturers will have to limit their average polluting emissions below 42.75 grams of CO2 per km traveled (currently it is 95 grams of CO2 per km traveled).
With this decision, it is forced that vehicles be severely electrified, limiting the sale of combustion vehicles past 2030 to plug-in hybrids, as long as the regulations are not reviewed. particular homologation methods that these have and that have caused countries like Switzerland to withdraw aid for their purchase. With gasoline emissions, it will not be possible to sell cars that consume (officially) more than 1.81l/100km of the fuel.
In addition, it has been clarified that the bonus for “ecological innovations”, which until now could add up to 7 grams of CO2 to the maximum amount of each fleet, will be reduced to a maximum of 4 grams of CO2. We explained this particular way of performing the calculations in an article in which we talked about why manufacturers are interested in selling large and heavy electric cars.
To all of the above must be added the prices that fossil fuels can reach in the coming years. The latest moves by OPEC+ have already shown that they are not willing to let their prices fall, reducing the production of barrels if necessary. With lower demand, it is expected that costs will continue to rise.
Some exceptions to note
Despite this, there are two exceptions that are worth stopping at. The European Union reserves the possibility of selling vehicles with a combustion engine that work with CO2 neutral fuels. That is, synthetic fuels that do not expel polluting emissions.
This is an exception that the governments of Germany and Italy have fought for but that will hardly be relevant in practice. It has been, in short, a movement towards the gallery towards its citizens. This pressure has even served so that European commissioners have encouraged the industry to continue producing this type of vehicle… but for countries in the European Union.
At the moment, synthetic fuels are highly inefficient and very expensive to produce. It is true that Porsche is one of the firms that is putting the most effort into the development of these fuels, but also because it knows that, sell very expensive, your clientele might be willing to pay if they can still get the sound and feel of your combustion engine. BMW has also distanced itself from Audi or Mercedes, ensuring that it will continue to manufacture combustion engines. That yes, of great dimensions, just the public that will be able to afford to pay for this technology or the extra cost that could lead to the brand in the form of a fine.
Another possibility is to use hydrogen in a combustion engine. It is the ones that Toyota has been testing for a long time, with the aim of maintaining that special spirit of this type of propellant. However, hydrogen is expensive to transport and its deposits would turn the car into a recreational vehicle, since that so inefficient that hardly any space would be left to store objects with the use of large hydrogen reservoirs. In Toyota’s tests, their cars carried 180 liters of liquid hydrogen and had to be refueled every 10 laps around the Fuji circuit. That is, they could barely travel between 40 and 45 kilometers without stopping to replenish liquid hydrogen.
The other big exception is that low-volume firms, those with less than 1,000 units, will also be able to sell vehicles with combustion engines, understanding that their impact on the environment it will be minimal. To get a better idea of what 1,000 units are, Ferrari placed 11,155 cars on the market. And Rolls-Royce, even more exclusive, placed 5,586 ultra-luxury vehicles on the market.