During the plenary session on 14 February, Members of the European Parliament voted in favour of new legislation that bans the sale of combustion engine cars and vans from 2035. The new CO2 emissions reduction targets for new passenger cars and light commercial vehicles are part of the “Fit for 55” package.
The law was first brought up in Parliament last year when MEPs supported the implementation of such a ban, with the revised text of the legislation being voted on yesterday. With 340 votes in favour, 279 against and 21 abstentions, MEPs endorsed the deal reached with the Council on revised CO2 emission performance standards for new cars and vans in line with the EU’s increased climate ambition.
What we’re saying is zero emissions at the tail pipe. So if industry thinks they can build cars with combustion engines that can lead to zero emission, they’re free to do that. But they know electrification is the most efficient way to reach zero emissions for cars and vans.Frans Timmermans, Vice-President of the European Commission
The new legislation sets the path towards zero CO2 emissions for new passenger cars and light commercial vehicles in 2035 (an EU fleet-wide target to reduce carbon emissions produced by new cars and vans by 100% compared to 2021). Intermediate emissions reduction targets for 2030 are set at 55% for cars and 50% for vans.
Although the aim is for combustion engine vehicles to not be sold in the EU by 2035, manufacturers who produce fewer than 1,000 new vehicles per year are exempt from this rule, while manufacturers responsible for small production volumes in a calendar year (1 000 to 10 000 new cars or 1 000 to 22 000 new vans) may be granted a derogation until the end of 2035.
These targets create clarity for the car industry and stimulate innovation and investments for car manufacturers.Jan Huitema, European Parliament Rapporteur
The current zero- and low- emission vehicles (ZLEV) incentive mechanism, which rewards manufacturers that sell more such vehicles (with emissions from zero to 50g CO2/km, such as electric vehicles and well-performing plug-in hybrids) with lower CO2 emission reduction targets, will be adapted to meet expected sales trends. From 2025 to 2029, the ZLEV benchmark is set at 25% for the sales of new cars, and 17% for new vans, and as of 2030 the incentive will be removed.
According to the regulation, the Commission undertakes some responsibility in monitoring the evolution of car emissions. By 2025, the institution has to present a methodology to assess and report data on CO2 emissions throughout the full life-cycle of cars and vans sold on the EU market, accompanied by legislative proposals where appropriate.
Moreover, by December 2026, the Commission will monitor the gap between the emission limit values and the real-world fuel and energy consumption data, report on a methodology for adjusting the manufacturers’ specific CO2 emissions, and propose appropriate follow-up measures. Lastly, every two years, starting from the end of 2025, the Commission will publish a report to evaluate the progress towards zero-emission road mobility.