EU Strikes Deal to Ban Combustion-Engine Cars by 2035
The planned law adds to pressure on auto makers and suppliers to accelerate the shift away from cars that run on gasoline and toward electric vehicles
European Union lawmakers reached a political agreement late Thursday for emissions rules that will effectively ban the sale of new cars with internal combustion engines beginning in 2035.
The planned law is set to require new cars and vans to have significantly lower carbon emissions by 2030 and to reach zero emissions by 2035, adding to pressure on auto makers and suppliers to accelerate the shift away from cars that run on gasoline and toward electric vehicles.
"This agreement will pave the way for the modern and competitive automotive industry," said Jozef Síkela, minister of industry and trade for the Czech Republic, which holds the EU's rotating presidency. He said the deal lawmakers reached should give car manufacturers enough time to transition to zero emissions.
The legislation still needs to be formally adopted by member states and the European Parliament, but is unlikely to change substantively from what lawmakers agreed to on Thursday evening.
Although car makers are increasingly moving toward electric vehicles, some auto industry representatives have said they believe the EU's plan is too quick, citing concerns about electric-vehicle charging infrastructure and access to raw materials.
Oliver Zipse, president of the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association and chief executive of German car maker BMW AG, said the industry is up to the challenge of providing zero-emissions vehicles.
But he said more work would be needed to ensure that Europe has enough renewable energy and charging infrastructure, as well as access to the raw materials needed to produce electric vehicles and the batteries they use.
"We are now keen to see the framework conditions which are essential to meet this target reflected in EU policies," Mr. Zipse said in a statement on Thursday.
Roughly one in five new cars sold in the EU last year had a plug allowing them to be charged, according to the association's figures.
The group said it expects that figure to rise to three in five by 2030.
The planned legislation is part of a broader effort by the EU to cut greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2050.
Lawmakers who backed the new rules for cars and vans argued that allowing new vehicles that emit carbon to be sold after 2035 would have undermined the bloc's overall climate ambitions.
"Making it possible to sell nonzero emission cars after 2035 would have been seen as a de facto renunciation of climate neutrality in transport," said Pascal Canfin, an EU lawmaker from France who chairs the parliament's environment committee.
Under the terms of the planned law, emissions from new cars sold in 2030 would need to be 55% lower compared with 2021 levels, and new vans would have to be 50% lower than 2021 levels.
The zero-emissions target for 2035 applies to both new cars and new vans.
The deal reached on Thursday indicates that the European Commission, the EU's executive body, can also propose additional rules that would allow vehicles that run exclusively on carbon-neutral fuels to be sold after 2035.
It also includes a review clause requiring the commission to assess progress toward the zero emissions targets in 2026.