A proposal made last year by the European Commission to ban sales of new combustion cars from 2035 came as a shock for the automotive industry and car enthusiasts alike. It technically referred to a 100% reduction in CO2 emissions, which did leave the door open for synthetic fuels and hydrogen-burning ICE cars.
Fast forward to this week, European Parliament lawmakers voted on the proposal favorably. Some lawmakers wanted a less severe target of 90% cuts in CO2 emissions by the middle of the next decade, but their attempts were in vain. However, the vote doesn’t automatically transform the proposal into law as other procedures must be followed.
Members of the European Union will negotiate with the European Parliament and only after that a final decision is going to be made. Even if 2035 won’t officially become the cut-off date for the internal combustion engine, many car manufacturers have already pledged to end sales in Europe of new cars running on fossil fuels even before the end of this decade. Relevant examples include Stellantis with its many brands, as well as Volvo, Ford, Jaguar, and others.
BMW has been quite vocal about how terminating sales of ICE-powered cars by 2035 would be too premature and would greatly hurt the automotive industry. In addition, the German luxury marque has expressed its concerns about how not all people will be able to afford an electric car. That said, Rolls-Royce will become a purely electric brand around 2030, not just in Europe, but all over the world. MINI will follow suit at the beginning of the next decade.
Archrival Mercedes has said it will become an EV-only brand by 2030 only where market conditions will allow to phase out sales of gasoline and diesel vehicles. Audi will launch its final new car powered by a combustion engine in 2026 and end production of ICE vehicles by 2032, although it could continue in China depending on local demand.
Meanwhile, numbers provided by the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association show only 18% of passenger cars sold in the EU last year were PHEVs or EVs, so it’s going to take a while until cars powered solely by gasoline/diesel engines will become the minority in the sales charts.