Thermal cars will be banned in 2035, but it will not be as radical as expected

The European Union has indeed banned the sale of thermal cars. But still agreements have been reached with manufacturers so that the transition will be smoother than expected.

Thermal Volkswagen Passat for illustration

We’ve heard about it for a while. But just last June, the European Commission officially voted in favor of banning the sale of thermal cars from 2035. This measure was already enacted by the European Parliament a few days ago. But nothing was recorded yet, as the measure had to return to Parliament. It is done now.


As confirmed by the Reuters press agency, therefore, from 2035, the sale of gasoline and diesel-powered cars will no longer be possible in Europe. Thus, an agreement signed by all member states was reached and this decision was registered. , This will concern all manufacturers who have to go 100% electric by January 1, 2035..

Nevertheless and as mentioned Automotive News, there is still an exception for niche manufacturers like Lamborghini, which sell fewer than 10,000 cars a year. The latter has another year to comply with this new commitment. Brands like Bugatti or Koenigsegg, which sell less than 1,000 cars a year, are generally unaffected by these deadlines.

CO2 reduction target compared to 2021 levels

But contrary to what we think, this change will not happen overnight. In effect, In 2030, the first phase will be that the automotive industry must reduce CO2 emissions by 55%. for new cars and 50% for vans. After five years, the target will be set at 100%, which simply means that All registered vehicles will be electric.

The agreement also includes a review clause in 2026. This will allow us to improve the measures according to the progress made and the overall situation. It will also be an opportunity to decide the fate of plug-in hybrid cars, which today are still rated with an environmental bonus. On this date, the Commission will also have to assess the guarantee for these purposes. viable and socially just transition“.

Some compromises

However, the targets set by the European Union may not be as strict as expected in the end, even if agreements are reached with car manufacturers. as explained Numberfor example, alternative fuels may not be finally banned until after 2035, while a proposal for their registration will be submitted by the Commission after this period.

This only applies to CO2 neutral fuels, for example, works on Porsche and Lamborghini. According to a message posted on LinkedIn by Pascal Canfin, MEP and President of the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee, this compromise “ It made it possible to stabilize Germany’s support for this agreement“.

Is there a right to pollute for producers playing the game?

In addition, as the Council of Europe explains on its website, it will give producers a little favor. The latter notes that “ if a manufacturer meets certain criteria for selling zero- and low-emission cars, it can be rewarded with less stringent CO2 targets.“.

Specifically, each brand is subject to average CO2 emissions targets of around 95 g/km, but varies slightly between brands. If these are not complied with, each manufacturer must pay a fine of €95 per gram of additional CO2 per km and per car sold. Obviously, if a brand sells enough electric cars, then it will have the right to sell a little more thermal cars.

Major players in the automotive industry are also calling for the Euro 7 standard to be delayed or even scrapped, as it requires heavy investments that are considered to be of little benefit. Indeed, the heat engine is doomed to disappear, it seems insignificant that manufacturers spend a lot of money to create less pollutants in just a few years. This standard should arrive in 2025 or 2026. It may be less strict than expectedbut we’ll have to wait a few weeks to know more.

Finally, the last notable innovation for the consumer: Europe intends to introduce a methodology for calculating the life cycle analysis of a new car by 2025. In other words, it will allow you to take into account greenhouse gases both during the movement stages and during production. This demonstrates once again that the battery of an electric car is less polluting than a thermal car, even if we take into account the production phase.

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