End of heat engines in 2035, what to expect?

The European Parliament has voted for the end of new diesel and petrol vehicles from 2035. A symbolic vote that is turning the automotive world upside down.

It is a symbolic vote which confirms European ambitions in the fight against CO2 emissions. At the end of the day yesterday, the Members of the European Parliament voted to end sales of new diesel and gasoline vehicles from 2035. A tight vote, where the European Parliament joins the recommendations of the European Commission within the framework of the “Green Pact” wanted by Brussels. A pact supposed to stop the production of thermal engines, and stop CO2 emissions by 2050.

Voting details

MEPs therefore adopted the end of sales of thermal vehicles from 2035 to be able to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. If the date of 2035 was chosen, it is because, according to the estimates of the European Commission, 15 years to achieve this carbon neutrality. In detail, this ban concerns private vehicles and vans. Only new vehicles with electric or hydrogen batteries can be sold. Car manufacturers will have to reduce CO2 emissions by 55% from 2030. A figure reduced to 50% for utility vehicles.

A difficult and undecided vote

The result of Wednesday evening’s vote was followed by lots of applause, and sometimes even shouts of joy in the ranks of the hemicycle of the European Parliament. A relief that illustrates the strong tensions surrounding this historic vote, and the many points of disagreement within the different political parties. Tuesday again, the outcome of this vote was very undecided. According to many deputies present on the spot, and according to projections, only 20 votes difference separated the deputies for and the deputies against. In the end, the yes vote won the day pretty well yesterday with 339 votes for, 249 against and 24 abstentions.

If the result is clear enough, the negotiations lasted a very long time in the night from Tuesday to Wednesday for change the positions of some. The Italian, Czech and French MEPs expressed their deep concern on the impact of this ban on European households and the abandonment of internal combustion engines. Jordan Bardella, MP RN, said in particular that this vote was “intense regulatory hype”. For her part, French MP Karima Delli (EELV) considers that it is necessary to be “proud to vote for ecology and climate”.

A tense voting climate which was particularly visible on Tuesday when, to everyone’s surprise, MEPs rejected the plan for a carbon border tax.

Member States have yet to decide

With this vote, the European Parliament therefore aligns itself with the proposals of the European Commission. But there is still an important step for the voting process to go to completion. It is now necessary convince the Member States of the European Union. And it won’t be an easy task. Because for the text to be implemented, it will be necessary toagreement of all member countries. The member countries will each present, by the end of the month, their negotiating position. It is then that the negotiations will begin, and they promise to be tough. The presence of automobile lobbies will certainly weigh heavily in these negotiations. The aim is to reach an agreement between the Member States, the Commission and the European Parliament by the end of the year.

Will heat engines really be banned?

If yesterday’s vote confirms the will of Parliament and the European Commission for the end of sales of new thermal vehicles, things could still change. First of all by the position of the Member States. Several countries of the European Union are worried about the transition to electric vehicles and hydrogen. This is particularly the case of Italy. The country fears a social breakdown because of the price of new vehicles, which are inaccessible to most households. Other countries point to the flagrant lack of charging stations on European roads. This is particularly the case of the Czech MP, Katerina Konecna, who sums up the situation factually: “How will the poorest population have access to mobility? Electric vehicles are inaccessible, charging infrastructure non-existent”.

Questions that will animate the discussions between the member countries. With the hope for some of seeing some streamlined parts of the project, to allow for a smooth transition. Moreover, for the experts who follow the case closely, Europe’s position will certainly be more conciliatory with thermal engines. This is what we explained to you at the beginning of the year on AutoPlus.fr.

For their part, car manufacturers say they are ready. But they claim that the complete end of thermal will lead to the automatic increase of vehicles. Because producing an electric vehicle is more expensive than a thermal vehicle.

It remains to be seen what the positions of EU member states will be. One thing is certain, discussions will be heated in the coming months on the future of heat engines.

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