The European Union has passed a landmark bill this week that reworks its previous law banning all new sales of ICE vehicles from 2035, while at the same time the European Commission has also proposed new targets to cut CO2 emissions from city buses and trucks from 2030 and onward.
The landmark bill regarding ICE vehicles was approved last year and still needs to go through one more round of approvals in March, but will see the the sale of all new petrol and diesel vehicles across the EU’s 27 member countries banned by 2035. The big change in the latest revision also sees a 55 per cent cut in CO2 emissions for new cars sold from 2030 versus 2021 compared to the previous target of 37.5 per cent.
However despite the very strident rule making there are some caveats, including the fact that the law only addresses new vehicles, not the used vehicle market, meaning that a brand-new ICE vehicle bought in 2034 will still be legal to drive in 2035 and onward. Given the life cycle of most vehicles of between 10 and 15 years that’ means there will still be a lot of ICE vehicles on the roads in Europe well into the 2040s. The final deal also includes a workaround for smaller vehicle makers producing less than 10,000 vehicles a year to meet weaker targets until 2036.
While there has been pushback from the auto industry over the past year, most European manufacturers are already on board with heavy investment in electrification, including Volkswagen’s commitment to only produce electric cars in Europe from 2033. Others, such as Bentley, Mercedes-Benz, Ford, and Jaguar, have already begun shifting their global production strategies toward an all-electric future.
The European Commission has also turned its eye toward cutting greenhouse emissions from the transport section, with an aim to phase in stronger CO2 emissions standards for all new heavy-duty vehicles, including city buses and long-haul trucks, and gradually shift to zero emissions in the coming years. The plan, announced yesterday, suggests a 45 per cent emissions reduction from 2030, then 65 per cent emission reduction from 2035, to 90per cent from 2040. Yet, the plan is a tad more aggressive for city buses, requiring zero-emissions standards by 2030.
Heavy-duty vehicles currently account for more than 6 per cent of total EU greenhouse gases and more than 25 per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions from road transport.