The European Parliament on Wednesday voted to support an effective ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2035, rejecting attempts to weaken the proposal to speed the bloc's shift to electric vehicles.
The vote upholds a key pillar of the European Union's plans to cut net planet-warming emissions 55 per cent by 2030, from 1990 levels — a target that requires faster emissions reductions from industry, energy and transport.
MPs supported a proposal, put forward by the European Commission last year, to require a 100 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions from new cars by 2035, which would make it impossible to sell fossil fuel-powered vehicles in the EU from that date.
Attempts by some MPs to weaken the target to a 90 per cent CO2 cut by 2035 were rejected.
The law is not yet final — Wednesday's vote confirms the Parliament's position for coming negotiations with EU countries on the final law.
The aim is to speed Europe's shift to electric vehicles and embolden car makers to invest heavily in electrification, aided by another EU law that will require countries to install millions of vehicle chargers.
“Purchasing and driving zero-emission cars will become cheaper for consumers,” said Jan Huitema, the Parliament's lead negotiator on the policy.
Car makers including Ford and Volvo have publicly supported the EU plan to stop combustion engine car sales by 2035, while others, including Volkswagen, aim to stop selling combustion engine cars in Europe by that date.
Opposition to ban
But emails seen by Reuters show industry groups including German auto association VDA lobbied MPs to reject the 2035 target, which they said penalised alternative low-carbon fuels and was too early to commit to, given the uncertain roll out of charging infrastructure.
“Our positions are transparent. It is our mission to develop the best solutions with everyone involved,” a VDA representative said.
Electric cars and plug-in hybrid vehicles made up 18 per cent of new passenger cars sold in the EU last year, although overall car sales dropped in the year amid semiconductor shortages, the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association said.
Transport produces a quarter of Europe's planet-heating emissions and greenhouse gases from the sector have increased in recent years, threatening efforts to avert dangerous levels of climate change.