A final vote on the EU’s plan to ban the sale of all new petrol and diesel cars by 2035 has been put on hold after it risked being blocked by opposition from governments in Germany and Italy.
While approved by the European Parliament on February 14, the vote still has to go to the European Council. Though due to take place on March 7, this has now been postponed to a ‘later council meeting’ in ‘due time’, after it’s believed it would not receive enough of a qualified majority to get the go-ahead. The postponement was confirmed by a spokesperson of Sweden, who holds the current presidency of the Council of the EU.
It is very rare for attempts to block or alter EU policy to be made so far into the lawmaking process.
Fierce opposition has come from the Italian Government, which has said it will ‘firmly oppose’ the law unless the EU commission ‘revises its position and propose environmentally sustainable alternatives’. That’s according to the European Council for Motor Trades and Repairs (CECRA), which has said that the ‘debate on the end date for combustion engines is not closed’.
In a statement released on February 28, Italy’s Energy Minster Gilberto Pinchetto Fratin said: “Italy believes that the choice of electric should not be the only way to achieve zero emissions in the transition phase.”
Following the Italian Government’s positioning, the German Government has also said it would reject the measures unless the use of manmade e-fuels was included in the proposals. These e-Fuels are synthetic and don’t require the use of any fossil fuels. German manufacturer Porsche has already set up an e-Fuel plant in Chile as it hopes it will continue to be able to fuel combustion cars in the future with this ‘nearly carbon-neutral alternative’.
The EU ban states that from 2035, all new cars ‘cannot emit CO2’, which essentially means everything but electric cars will be banned. It’s the same deadline as that of the UK, though in Britain there is a 2030 deadline on petrol and diesel cars that don’t feature a hybrid element.