The sale of gasoline and diesel cars and vans has its days numbered in the European Union: 2035 is the deadline. This was agreed this Thursday by the negotiators of the European Parliament, the Council -the Governments of the 27- and the European Commission, who have closed the first negotiation of the EU environmental package, known as fit for 55, a strategy to reduce emissions to 55% by 2030 –with an eye on 100% by 2050–.
Thus, the co-legislators agreed on a CO2 emission reduction target of 55% for new cars and 50% for new vans by 2030 compared to 2021 levels; and a 100% CO2 emission reduction target for new cars and vans by 2035.
Under the agreement, existing EU funding must be channeled towards the transition to zero-emission vehicles and related technologies, and especially towards SMEs along the automotive supply chain and vulnerable regions and communities.
“The Zero and Low Emission Vehicles (ZLEV) incentive mechanism is reviewed against a higher benchmark to ensure it matches current sales trends and offers affordable zero emission vehicles on the EU market. ”, says the European Parliament.
If a manufacturer meets certain milestones for the sale of low or zero emission vehicles, it may be rewarded with less stringent CO2 targets. The co-legislators agreed to increase the reference value to 25% for cars and 17% for vans until 2030.
“Manufacturers of small production volumes in a calendar year (from 1,000 to 10,000 new cars or from 1,000 to 22,000 new vans) will be able to benefit from an exception until the end of 2035 (those responsible for less than 1,000 new vehicle registrations per year will remain being exempt)”, states the European Parliament: “The existing rules for the labeling of fuel economy and CO2 emissions for cars must be reviewed by the end of 2024”.
The agreement includes that the European Commission will present a proposal to register vehicles that run exclusively on CO2-neutral fuels after 2035, in accordance with EU legislation, outside the scope of application of the rules for fleets and in accordance with the objective EU climate neutrality.
The agreement also has a review clause that will ensure that, in 2026, “the European Commission comprehensively assesses the progress made to achieve the 100% emission reduction targets and the need to review these targets taking into account technological advances, also with regard to plug-in hybrid technologies. and the importance of a viable and socially equitable transition towards zero emissions”, says the Council of the EU.
In addition, the agreement provides for a reinforcement of other provisions in the regulations, such as reducing the ceiling on emission credits that manufacturers can receive for eco-innovations that verifiably reduce CO2 emissions on the road, up to 4 g/km per year from 2030 to 2034 (currently set at 7 g/km per year).
Likewise, the European Commission will develop a common EU methodology, by 2025, to assess the complete life cycle of CO2 emissions from cars and vans marketed in the EU, as well as the fuels and energy consumed by these vehicles. .
On the basis of this methodology, manufacturers will be able, on a voluntary basis, to report to the Commission on the life cycle emissions of the new vehicles they place on the market.
The agreement maintains an exception for small-volume manufacturers until the end of 2035.
The proposal revises the existing rules, last modified in 2019. The provisional political agreement reached in the trilogue negotiations will now have to be formally adopted by the Council and the European Parliament.
According to the regulation, every manufacturer must ensure that the average CO2 emissions of its fleet of newly registered vehicles in a calendar year do not exceed its specific annual emissions target.
Manufacturers can continue to put combustion engine vehicles on the market, but if they exceed their emissions target in a given year, they must pay a premium of €95 per gram of CO2/km above the target per registered vehicle.
Consequently, with the new agreed targets, zero emission vehicles will eventually be cheaper than vehicles running on fossil fuels.
“The related review of the deployment of an alternative fuels infrastructure (AFIR) currently being discussed between the Council and Parliament will allow the development of an infrastructure for drivers to recharge their vehicles in the Member States”, says the Council.
The proposal to review CO2 emissions for cars and vans is part of the Fit for 55 package presented by the European Commission in July 2021. The package aims to see the EU reduce its net greenhouse gas emissions by at least one 55% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels and achieve climate neutrality by 2050.
Parliament adopted a series of amendments to the Commission proposal at its plenary session on June 8, 2022. On June 29, 2022, the Council of Environment Ministers reached a general approach of the 27 on the proposal.