The European Parliament approved a bill on Tuesday that will phase out combustion engine cars, reshaping the eurozone’s auto industry dramatically.
The legislation will require automakers to achieve a 100 percent reduction in CO2 emissions from new car sales by 2035, making new fossil fuel-powered vehicles impossible to sell in the 27-country union.
It also mandates a 55% reduction in CO2 emissions for new cars sold after 2030 compared to 2021 levels, which is significantly greater than the current target of 37.5 percent. New vans must reduce CO2 emissions by 100% by 2035 and 50% by 2030, compared to 2021 levels.
Parliament approved the regulation with 340 votes in favor, 279 votes against, and 21 abstentions.
“This regulation promotes the development of zero- and low-emission vehicles. It includes an ambitious adjustment of the 2030 targets and a zero-emission target for 2035, which is critical for achieving climate neutrality by 2050,” said Jan Huitema, the parliament’s senior rules negotiator.
The goals “create clarity for the automotive industry and drive innovation and investment for manufacturers,” Huitema said in a statement.
“Purchasing and driving zero-emission cars will become cheaper for consumers, and a second-hand market will emerge more quickly. In addition, it makes sustainable driving accessible to everyone,” he said.
The EU governments reached an agreement with parliamentarians in October, but the rules must be formally approved before they can go into effect. The European Council is scheduled to provide final approval in March.
When the bill was presented in July 2021, it faced opposition from several industries and countries. As a result, the final agreement provides some flexibility, such as the ability for small manufacturers producing less than 10,000 vehicles per year to negotiate lower targets until 2036.
The effectiveness and impacts of the EU’s plan are significant. The EU, the biggest trade bloc in the world, is home to several of the biggest automakers, like Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz, and is known for setting standards for the rest of the globe.
Ford made the announcement on Tuesday that it is ending production of popular combustion models like the Fiesta and Focus in favor of selling a smaller range of all-electric cars in Europe by the year 2030.
Before 2035, numerous more European automakers plan to switch to all-electric vehicles.