The European Union has officially moved to ban the sale of diesel and gasoline cars from 2035 onward after the European Council and European Parliament ruled provisionally. In a statement issued last week, the European Parliament said EU negotiators had mapped a proposal for “zero-emission road mobility by 2035.” Without directly saying so, this new mandate just means banning everything that the world has relied on to get from place to place from the past century or so.
Ok, fine, the European Commission didn’t outright ban internally combusting cars and vans, as that would be undemocratic. European bureaucrats don’t seem to have the appetite to trap themselves in that kind of messy crossfire. The French Revolution wasn’t that long ago, you see. Instead, the plan seeks to slash CO2 emissions from new vans and passenger cars by 100% from totals registered in 2021. Ultimately it was never discussed how such achievements will happen. Call it a shadow ban, if you want. But a ban is a ban.
Kids will probably keep gluing themselves to artwork in the meantime as some form of a well-funded protest.
European automakers are decidedly shaken by the ban, considering many of them have been sounding the alarm regarding the ability of electric vehicles to meet our current transportation demands. All this comes as the European energy crisis induced by the Russian/Ukraine conflict continues to chip away at Europe’s industrial foothold. You’ll be forgiven if you thought the problem was just a shortage of Russian gas, as soaring electricity prices continue to hamper not just industry, but regular citizens as well.
“This extremely far-reaching decision is without precedent,” said Oliver Zipse, the CEO of BMW and chair of the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association. Earlier this month, Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares told CNBC it was “clear that the decision to ban pure ICEs is a purely dogmatic decision.”
In their never-ending benevolence, the technocrats have decided that smaller automakers producing up to 10,000 new cars or 22,000 new vans could be granted an exemption until the end of 2035, but only if they’re nice. Those who produce less than 1,000 new vehicle registrations will continue to be exempt.
Formal approval of the deal from the European Council and European Parliament is required before the ban takes effect. Already, many belonging to Europe’s super left are rejoicing the decision as a foregone conclusion. “The days of the carbon-spewing, pollution-belching combustion engine are finally numbered,” said Julia Poliscanova, senior director for vehicles and e-mobility at Transport & Environment, the Brussels-based campaign group. Julia believes pollution isn’t pollution if you do it in someone else’s backyard, kind of like peeing in your neighbor’s pool or something.
Many in Europe are quite keen to see the framework conditions which are absolutely necessary to meet this target. Europe will need to shore up its energy supply in terms of baseload and renewables, along with ushering in a new era of private and publicly accessible charging infrastructure. The elephant in the room will continue to be access to raw materials, but politicians don’t think like the rest of us.
Does this mean that Europeans will only be able to drive battery-powered mobility pods and bicycles by next decade? Perhaps. But just as there are forces at work to take away personal transportation liberties from the people, there are just as many looking to maintain this necessity. e-fuels, hydrogen combustion, and other methods are all in their early stages. And there’s hope that such technologies could go mainstream sooner than we think.