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Parliament and Council confirm 2035 zero-emissions target for new cars and vans

Parliament and Council confirm 2035 zero-emissions target for new cars and vans
Jan Huitema (Renew, NL) Rapporteur (photo courtesy Philippe BUISSIN EP Audiovisiual Services).

On October 27, 2022, the European Parliament and European Council reached a provisional agreement on revised carbon dioxide emissions reduction targets for new passenger cars and light commercial vehicles.

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EU negotiators secured an agreement with member states on the Commission’s original proposal to reach zero-emission road mobility by 2035 – an EU fleet-wide target to reduce the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions produced by new passenger cars and light commercial vehicles by 100 percent compared to 2021.

The announcement marks the first deal of the “Fit for 55” package and a “clear signal” ahead of the UN COP27 Climate Change Conference that the EU is serious about adopting concrete laws to reach the more ambitious targets set out in the EU Climate Law.

The European Parliament succeeded in introducing a methodology for the assessment and data reporting of full life-cycle CO2 emissions of cars and vans sold on the EU market.

The Commission will present this methodology by 2025, accompanied by legislative proposals where appropriate.

The Commission will also publish a report by the end of 2025, and every two years thereafter, to evaluate progress toward zero-emission road mobility.

The report will cover the impact on consumers and employment, the progress in energy efficiency and affordability of zero- and low-emission vehicles (ZLEVs) as well as information on the market for second-hand vehicles.

Aligning emission limit values with real-world emissions

The Commission will monitor and report annually the gap between the emission limit values and the real-world fuel and energy consumption data, with the aim to adjust the manufacturer’s average specific emissions of CO2 as of 2030.

Under the deal, existing EU funding should be channeled to transitioning to zero-emission vehicles and related technologies, especially toward SMEs along the automotive supply chain and vulnerable regions and communities.

With these targets, we create clarity for the car industry and stimulate innovation and investments for car manufacturers. In addition, purchasing and driving zero-emission cars will become cheaper for consumers. I am pleased that today we reached an agreement with the Council on an ambitious revision of the targets for 2030 and supported a 100 percent target for 2035. This is crucial to reach climate neutrality by 2050 and make clean driving more affordable, commented Rapporteur Jan Huitema (Renew, NL).

Other measures that are foreseen by the regulation include:

  • The incentive mechanism for ZLEVs is revised with a higher benchmark in order to ensure that it is aligned with the current sales trends and brings affordable zero-emissions cars onto the EU market;
  • 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 while those manufacturers responsible for less than 1 000 new vehicle registrations per year continue to be exempt;
  • Existing rules for labeling fuel economy and CO2 emissions for cars should be reviewed by the end of 2024.

Responding to a question during the press briefing on October 28, 2022, regarding what this deal means for the internal combustion engine (ICE), Jan Huitema said that “it is not the goal of this legislation to ban a combustion engine, the deal is that cars at the tailpipe cannot emit any emissions anymore so no CO2 but also no nitrogen oxides or (NOx) sulphur oxides (SOx). That is the deal from 2035, only new cars on the market should be zero-emission from the tailpipe.”

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