As part of the revision of its climate, energy and transport-related legislation, the European Union recently approved a new package called “Fit for 55”. With it, the internal combustion engine is set to disappear.
More specifically, this new legislation aims to instigate a zero-tailpipe emissions limit for cars sold after 2035. In response, many car manufacturers have already adjusted their strategies in order to hit this new target (Porsche and Volvo by 2030, Volkswagen by 2035).
As the transport industry is responsible for producing a large amount of our carbon emissions, the success of e-mobility (and other non-carbon means of transport) is an essential step towards fighting climate change.
As a world leader in the space, embracing e-mobility will also guarantee Europe remains a centre of commerce and industry thanks to its cross-sector innovation efforts. This is especially important as Europe is very dependent on vehicle exports.
The European Commission's Plan
According to the European Commission’s plan, yearly emissions of new vehicles must be 55% lower in the year 2030 than compared to in 2021.
By 2035, this figure increases to 100% in comparison to 2021, meaning that all newly registered vehicles from 2035 onwards would be emission-free.
This was evident at the Power2Drive Europe Restart 2021 that manufacturing companies got the message and are now creating innovative solutions to make the Europeans net-zero emission plans.
The Power2Drive Europe Restart 2021 (part of Intersolar Europe), was held in Munich, Germany in October 2021. The event showcased charging solutions and technologies for electric vehicles and reflects the interaction between electric vehicles and sustainable environmentally friendly energy supply.
Manufacturing companies are embracing the transitions but there are some European countries that are resisting the change, such as Germany due to their huge combustion-engine centric industry.
The European Association for Electromobility, AVERE, will continue to actively pressure the EU government bodies to push the deadline forward to 2030. However, some European countries are prepared to set bigger goals than set by the EU.
For instance, in Norway, only emission-free passenger cars and lightweight commercial vehicles will be sold by 2025 (Norway has a share of almost 100% renewable/ hydro energy).
In the Netherlands, new buses must be emission-free by 2025 and passenger cars from 2030, according to the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT).
On their end, the Nordic Countries of Denmark, Iceland, Ireland and Sweden have committed to ending the sale or registration of internal combustion engine-powered passenger cars from 2030.
The United Kingdom has also announced a ban on conventional diesel and gasoline passenger cars for 2030.
Countries that have not yet established a deadline, such as Germany, or without short-term goals, such as Spain (2040), will need to reconsider their plans to avoid paying penalties in the future.
European Automotive Manufacturers
After much hesitation, the majority of the automobile manufacturers that produce combustion engines have adjusted their strategies to meet the EU’s targets.
Heavyweights like Volkswagen have decided on 2035 as the latest deadline for the change. Ford has announced to only sell electric vehicles in Europe by 2030.
Mercedes-Benz recently announced that battery electric vehicles (hybrid and fully electric) will account for fifty per cent of global sales by 2025, up from the previous target of twenty-five per cent. This started out as an eclectic-first and turned into an electric-only, where market conditional allow.
Where market conditions allow means that a tight nit network of fast car charging points (both public and private) need to be readily available for everyone. This is the biggest challenger that the electric car industry faces. If I can’t go long distances or travel rural areas using an electric vehicle, how realistic is having 100% electric vehicles?
Manufacturers only have limited ability to solve the challenges that the electric vehicle industry has. But over time battery distances will increase, and recycling concepts will be introduced that will in turn help with the transition and the doubts that individuals, organisations and governments have.
If the end of the combustion engine is to be successful the EU will need to implement strategies to achieve electricity will be generated by 100% renewable energy otherwise the effort and policies that have been made would be pointless.
Europe’s vehicle exports will continue to strengthen as electric vehicles promote the concept of future mobility and can offer added values to society as a flexible, temporary storage system for green energy. The question still remains, will the end of the combustion engine impact future mobility?
The successful transition from fossil fuel transport is possible, due to the continued improvements of technology and the continued development of new policies, but will it be enough to end the reign of the combustion engine throughout Europe…