Businesses call on European Commission to maintain 2035 ban on diesel and petrol vehicles

A coalition of businesses has written to the European Commission, warning that any potential overturn of the ban on the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2035 would undermine the bloc’s efforts to reach its climate goals.


Businesses call on European Commission to maintain 2035 ban on diesel and petrol vehicles

The Climate Group states that keeping the ban in place would offer legislative certainty and enable businesses to invest in electric vehicles

A decision is due to be made on the wrangle over the EU’s current legislation that bans the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2035. A group of nations, including Germany, Italy, Poland and the Czech Republic have opposed the ban, while groups such as the Free Democrats (FDP) want exemptions for some vehicles that use low-carbon fuels in traditional internal combustion engines.

In response, the Climate Group has sent a letter to the European Commission warning that delaying the ban would have huge ramifications on air quality and the environment, while also calling into question the EU’s ability to reach its climate commitments. The letter has been signed by 47 businesses including Volvo Cars, Ford and Vattenfall.

The Climate Group’s director of transport Sandra Roling said: “It is deeply concerning that Germany is leading efforts to postpone the EU’s agreed 2035 ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and seek concessions for e-fuels. That six other countries are now rowing in behind Germany risks undermining business trust in the EU itself, not to mention having a detrimental effect on the health of the EU’s people and its climate, along with prolonging the life of the internal combustion engine.

“Legislative certainty is vital for business planning. In seeking to reverse the agreement secured under the French presidency, these seven Member States are undoing almost two years of negotiations and are risking the EU’s ability to meet its agreed 2050 climate goals. Our asks are simple. Stick to the 2035 date, and no concessions for e-fuels. Give businesses the clarity and certainty they need to invest in the switch to electric vehicles.”

The current changes mean that, as of 2035, all new cars and vans placed on the market in the EU will need to produce zero tailpipe emissions. The EU will confirm by 2026 whether hybrid vehicles and/or vehicles using alternative fuels will be able to be sold post-2035, if automakers can prove they are zero-emission.

The EU had maintained that the 2035 date would be necessary to transition road transport in line with its 2050 climate goals. The International Energy Agency’s (IEA) roadmap to a net-zero energy system by 2050 requires all developed nations to end the sale of light vehicles that are not zero-emission by 2035.

The Climate Group states that keeping the ban in place would offer legislative certainty and enable businesses to invest in electric vehicles.

Last year, the UK Government set out new plans to get automakers to begin shifting production to electric vehicles, ahead of the 2030 ban on new non-electric cars and vans.

Zero-emission vehicle mandates will be applied to carmakers from 2024, requiring them to ensure that a certain portion of vehicles produced are zero-emission.

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie

Subscribe