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EU set to sideline ICE vehicles by 2035 with tougher car emissions proposal

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EU set to sideline ICE vehicles by 2035 with tougher car emissions proposal

Highlights

Sees all cars, vans as zero-emission by 2050

Would bring EU closer to existing ICE car bans

Small car makers to be covered by new rules

The European Commission proposed July 14 tougher CO2 emission reduction targets for cars and small vans which would effectively ban sales of new diesel and gasoline vehicles from 2035.

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As part of a package of measures to decarbonize the region's transport sector and accelerate the production and sales of low and zero-emission vehicles, the EC said newly registered cars will have to reduce emissions by 55% by 2030 and 100% by 2035 compared to 2021, based on the average emissions of a manufacturer's car fleet. For new vans, the reduction targets are 50% and 100% respectively. All car and van manufacturers will have to contribute to reducing CO2 emissions, under the proposals, with no more exemptions for small volume manufacturers from 2030, it said.

Currently, EU-produced cars are allowed to emit 95g of carbon per kilometer driven on average while vans are permitted 147 g/km.

The new targets are a significant increase on the current measures which currently require a 37.5% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2030, and effectively means gasoline and diesel fuel internal combustion engines, or ICE vehicles, will be ruled out.

As a result, the EC said it expects that nearly all cars and vans on the roads will need to be zero-emission vehicles by 2050.

"Stronger CO2 standards are not only beneficial from a decarbonization point of view but will also provide benefits for citizens through lower energy expenditure and better air quality. At the same time, they provide a clear and long-term signal to guide both the automotive sector's investments in innovative zero-emission technologies, as well as the rollout of recharging and refueling infrastructure," the EC said.

The EU has set a target of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030 and becoming climate neutral by 2050, requiring a 90% reduction in transport emissions by 2050. But to hit the climate neutrality target, the EC said its analysis shows almost all cars (88%-99% of the total) and almost all vans (87%-97%) would need to be zero- or low-emission by 2050.

Electric car boost

The move would bring the EU closer in line with a growing list of major member states that have already pledged to ban conventional cars from 2030.

Germany, the region's biggest economy and largest oil market, Sweden, Denmark, Ireland and the Netherlands plan to end sales of new ICE cars in 2030. Norway, Europe's electric car powerhouse, has the most ambitious plan to phase out combustion-engine cars from 2025.

The UK in November brought forward a ban on sales of new gasoline and diesel cars to 2030 to help decarbonize the transport sector.

Volvo, Vattenfall and Uber were among 27 companies in April calling on the EU to ban the sale of new gasoline and diesel cars by 2035 in order to accelerate the transition to electric cars.

S&P Global Platts Analytics forecasts that plug-in electric car sales in Western Europe will make up 37% of the global total by 2025, when plug-in EVs on the road in the region will displace around 173,000 b/d of the region's gasoline and diesel demand.

Under its base case scenario, the International Energy Agency expects the global electric vehicle fleet to displace around 2.5 million b/d of oil products by 2030.

Charging network

Greenhouse gas emissions from road transport represent almost 20% of total EU emissions and have significantly increased since 1990.

Emissions from road transport fuels will also be covered by a new, separate emissions trading system encouraging fuel producers to provide cleaner fuels for cars and trucks, including internal combustion engine cars that will stay on the roads.

The EC's proposals include legislation to boost the charging infrastructure needed for mass EV uptake "in line with zero-emission car sales." The move will require member states to expand charging capacity in line with zero-emission car sales and to install charging and fueling points at regular intervals on major highways.