The EU announces the end of thermal cars in 2035 despite German resistance

2035: the EU says goodbye to thermal cars, despite resistance from Germany. Nevertheless, the EU is committed to approving synthetic fuels.

Megane E-Tech // Source: Frandroid

EU ministers have formally – and finally – approved legislation that aims to phase out sales of new polluting cars by 2035, ending last-minute resistance from Germany.

Thus, the approved text will require new cars to no longer emit CO₂ from 2035, resulting in in fact banning petrol, diesel and hybrid cars, in favor of fully electric vehicles. Within the Twenty-Seven, only Poland opposed this measure. Italy, Romania and Bulgaria abstained in the vote of EU energy ministers meeting in Brussels.

A backstage arrangement

Brussels has simply committed to facilitating access to synthetic fuels (e-fuel or e-fuel) in a separate proposal, which will have to be approved by autumn 2024. Which means that cars equipped with a combustion engine may be registered after 2035, provided that they only use fuels considered to be neutral in terms of CO₂ emissions.

The deal was secured following a behind-the-scenes arrangement between the European Commission and Germany, which will allow for the development of additional technical legislation providing a workaround for e-fuels (or e-fuel).

As a reminder, e-fuels are not a viable long-term solution, because their production remains polluting and requires a large amount of energy. The cost of electric cars should continue to fall in the coming years, while the price of synthetic fuels could remain high. So it’s possible that these fuels only benefit a handful of high-end sports cars.

On the left, unleaded 98, on the right, e-fuel // Source: Tibo for Porsche France / Frandroid
On the left, unleaded 98, on the right, e-fuel // Source: Tibo for Porsche France / Frandroid

Currently, few brands have invested in e-fuel. Porsche, for example, is one of the few brands to invest in this technology. Moreover, experts believe that these fuels will remain available in limited quantities. According to them, they will be used in areas where electric motors are not an option, such as ships and planes.

An important step towards zero-emission mobility

The adoption of this law is an important step towards zero-emission mobility. This text aligns with the European Union’s goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050, thus contributing to efforts to combat climate change and promote a more sustainable future. This law on CO₂ emissions from cars must now be published in the Official Journal of the EU before coming into force in the coming weeks.

Although all-electric is the subject of much criticism, it currently remains the most environmentally friendly and viable option in terms of sustainable mobility.

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