The EU Parliament wants to ban new cars with combustion engines from 2035. That causes a lot of fuss. Even if a sales ban has not yet been decided, there are many questions.
If the EU Parliament has its way, manufacturers will no longer be allowed to sell cars with internal combustion engines from 2035 for climate protection reasons. The EU countries would still have to agree to a ban before it can come into force. Many consumers are already worried about the consequences of the decision. This would happen if the project comes into force as decided by Parliament:
Can I still drive my combustion engine car after 2035?
Yes. Only the sale of new cars would be banned. Specifically, the so-called fleet limits are regulated in the legislative proposal. These are specifications for manufacturers as to how much CO2 the cars and vans they produce may emit during operation. This value is to be reduced to zero by 2035. If a car runs on petrol or diesel, it emits CO2.
What happens to my old combustion engine?
He is not affected by the law. Combustion cars should continue to be driven after 2035 and used cars should be resold. How a decision affects the prices for used combustion engines depends on many factors. This is also shown by the fact that the prices for used vehicles have risen enormously in the recent past. Drivers were and are mainly Corona, a lack of microchips and other parts.
Will the combustion ban definitely come in this form?
That is unclear. The EU states want to agree on their position at the end of the month before final negotiations with Parliament begin. In theory, the ban could still be overturned. Observers, such as the CDU MEP Jens Gieseke, assume: "The ban on combustion engines in 2035 will probably no longer be preventable."
Can the federal government still block the decision?
Not alone. The decision of the EU states does not have to be taken unanimously. Even if Germany opposes phasing out combustion engines from 2035, there would not automatically be a majority against this decision. A majority against phasing out combustion engines is currently considered unrealistic.
Is the next step a driving ban for combustion engines?
This is not to be expected. There are no known plans to completely ban cars with internal combustion engines from the roads. It is more realistic that a sales ban would automatically make combustion engines increasingly rare.
What about the charging infrastructure?
As of May 1, the Federal Network Agency was notified of a good 60,000 publicly accessible charging points for electric cars in Germany. At the beginning of 2021 there were just under 41,600. The Association of the Automotive Industry estimates that there will be a need for around one million charging points in the public sector by 2030. The Federal Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW) is nevertheless optimistic: "The expansion of charging stations is making good progress," says Kerstin Andreae from BDEW. She emphasizes that charging stations are becoming more and more powerful and points to good percentage growth in expansion. Charging station operators ensure a charging network tailored to needs - "today, tomorrow and in 2030".
Are synthetic fuels not an option for climate-friendly combustion engines?
In principle yes. With these alternative fuels, cars and vans can also be operated in a climate-neutral manner. If they are produced correctly - i.e. with green electricity - the bottom line is that these energy sources do not produce any additional greenhouse gases. However, critics note that there are already too few of these "green" fuels for aviation and shipping, which are less easy to run electrically than cars or vans. In addition, calculated per kilometer, it takes more electricity to produce the so-called e-fuels than to operate cars directly electrically.
Which countries wanted to phase out combustion engines even before the EU parliamentary decision?
In some countries there has been a phase-out date for some time: Norway, for example, wants to stop selling vehicles with classic petrol or diesel engines from 2025. Great Britain, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands and Belgium most recently aimed for the year 2030, France wanted to follow up by 2040 at the latest. Even the huge emerging country of India wants to phase out conventional fuel technology in the medium term. In Germany, the government is divided.
When do automakers want to exit?
The US industry giant General Motors as well as Volvo, Jaguar and, in Europe, Ford, for example, have a concrete phase-out strategy. The VW Group has not yet set a fixed date for a general phase-out of combustion engines - however, some brands in the group have announced that they will gradually and locally Gradually say goodbye to petrol and diesel technology. Last November at the World Climate Conference in Glasgow, Mercedes-Benz called for a ban on sales of combustion engines in the leading markets from 2035.
How else can emissions in road traffic be reduced?
There is a proposal to include transport in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). In emissions trading, certain companies already have to pay for the emission of climate-damaging gases such as CO2. A compromise on this, which would initially only have affected commercial vehicles in the EU, failed on Wednesday in the European Parliament. MEPs want to try again in two weeks to reach an agreement. In Germany, traffic is already part of emissions trading.
(This article was first published on Friday, June 10, 2022.)