Proposals include 100% cut in CO2 emissions from cars by 2035
The European Union on Wednesday proposed an effective ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars as of 2035 which, as part of a broad climate package, will accelerate a switch to zero-emission electric vehicles (EVs).
The EU executive, the European Commission, proposed a 55%cut in CO2 emissions from cars by 2030 versus 2021 levels, much higher than the existing target of a 37.5% reduction in CO2emissions by that time.
The Commission also proposed a 100% cut in CO2 emissions by2035, which would make it impossible to sell new fossil-fuel-powered vehicles in the 27-country bloc.
"This is the sort of ambition we’ve been waiting to see from the EU, where it’s been lacking in recent years," said Helen Clarkson, Chief Executive of the Climate Group, a non-profit group that works with business and government to tackle climatechange.
"The science tells us we need to halve emissions by 2030, so for road transport it’s simple – get rid of the internal combustion engine."
In order to boost sales EV sales, Brussels also proposed legislation that would require countries to install public charging points along major roads with a maximum distance of 60kilometres (37.3 miles) between them by 2025.
The rollout of EVs is expected to create 3.5 million public charging stations for cars and vans by 2030, with that number to grow to 16.3 million by 2050.
Even when buyers have been able to afford the price premium for a part- or all-electric vehicle, many have been deterred by "range anxiety" because of a lack of public charging stations.
Car makers had telegraphed that they would accept tougher emission targets only in return for massive public investment inchargers.
All the Commission’s proposals will need to be negotiated and approved by EU member states and the European Parliament,which could take around two years.
Low-emission car sales surged in Europe last year, even as the COVID-19 pandemic knocked overall vehicle sales, and one in every nine new cars sold was an electric or plug-in hybrid.
Full electrification is still a long way off, however.
Many car makers have announced investments in electrification, partly in anticipation of tougher emissions targets from the EU.
Last month, Volkswagen AG said it would stop selling cars with combustion engines in Europe by 2035, but later in China and the United States, as part of its shift to electric vehicles.
And last week, Stellantis, the world’s No. 4 automaker, said it would invest more than 30 billion euros ($35billion) by 2025 on electrifying its line-up.
Consultancy Alix Partners estimates that for 2021 through 2025, car makers and suppliers globally will invest $330 billion in electrification, up 41% from its estimate of $250 billion for the period from 2020 to 2024.
Some European car makers such as BMW and Renault have invested heavily in plug-in hybrids to help consumers wary of going fully electric become comfortable with the technology.
They have spent many billions of euros on the technology and have argued that plug-in hybrids are also needed because of insufficient public charging infrastructure.
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