EU lawmakers should set an end date for selling new combustion engine cars in Europe no later than 2035, 27 companies have said in a joint appeal this week.¹ The open call will continue to gather support for a phase-out ahead of the review of EU car and van CO2 standards in June. The companies, which include IKEA Retail, Sky, Uber, Vattenfall and Volvo Cars, represent a wide range of industries. They say a fixed date will send a clear investment signal for car manufacturers, supply chains and infrastructure providers and will enable all businesses to decarbonise their vehicle fleets.
Cars and vans are responsible for 15% of all Europe’s CO2 emissions and are the single largest source (26%) of toxic nitrogen oxide emissions, which cause chronic diseases and the premature deaths of 54,000 Europeans every year. Oil costs the European economy over €200 billion a year in imports. A recent poll shows almost two-thirds of urban residents support banning the sale of new petrol and diesel cars in Europe after 2030.
Anders Kärrberg, head of global sustainability at Volvo Cars, said:
“By planning to become a fully electric car company by 2030, Volvo Cars intends to set the pace in the transition to zero emission mobility within our industry. But clear governmental direction and support is also needed to accelerate this transition. In this respect, Volvo Cars is pleased to join this call for the European Commission to propose an end date on new sales of internal combustion engine vehicles within the EU by 2035. Additional measures are also needed to increase EU consumer demand for electrified vehicles, including the rapid development of a comprehensive charging infrastructure.”
Setting a CO2 target for vehicle manufacturers at 0 gram of CO2/km by 2035 would enshrine the phase-out of petrol and diesel cars — including hybrids — in law, the companies say. The Commission will propose new targets in June as part of its “Fit for 55” package of legislation, which is intended to put the EU on track to cut overall emissions by at least 55% by 2030 and reach net zero emissions by 2050.²
Anabel Diaz, regional general manager for Europe, Middle East and Africa — Uber, said:
“Ambitious EU targets are critical for accelerating EV adoption. A phase-out by 2035 for all new vehicles sold in Europe will accelerate availability of affordable new and second-hand EVs, breaking down one of the key obstacles for high-km drivers — like those on the Uber platform — to make the EV switch which will have an outsized impact on climate. The EU phase-out target and cooperation of the entire EV ecosystem will allow for a faster transition towards more sustainable mobility which Uber supported through its own targets of becoming 50% electric by 2025 across seven cities and 100% by 2030 across Europe.”
Lawmakers should also use European, national and local measures — particularly the EU Alternative Fuels Infrastructure law — to ramp up deployment of electric vehicle charging points across the bloc, the companies say. They would also welcome support for vehicle makers and their supply chains to invest in new skills training for workers and regional transformation plans to help ensure no one is left behind in the transition to emissions-free transport. Changes to taxation are also needed to help ordinary consumers as well as corporate and urban mobility fleets switch to electric vehicles.
Julia Poliscanova, senior director for vehicles and emobility at Transport & Environment, said:
“Electrification of cars and vans is inevitable for the climate, consumers and for Europe’s industrial strategy. Businesses now want clarity on the speed of the transition to plan and prepare. Only EU lawmakers can provide it by naming the date for the end of combustion engine cars and vans sales.”
Comments by other participating companies:
Sandra Roling, head of EV100 at Climate Group: “Setting an ICE phase-out date of no later than 2035 will help businesses make commitments to convert their own fleet, secure in the backing of a consistent direction of policy. Within our EV100 initiative alone, millions of vehicles in European corporate fleets are committed to be electric by the end of this decade. We’re also seeing automakers pivoting rapidly towards zero emission vehicles – so the question is really whether Europe wants to be a leader in this space.”
Tomas Björnsson, vice-president, business unit, e-mobility, Vattenfall: “Our goal is to enable a fossil free society and the electrification of the transport sector is an important element in this transition. The EV-market will continue to mature in the coming years and Vattenfall will contribute to the ambitious EU targets by further building out one of the largest charging network in Europe together with partners. To walk the talk and reduce emissions in our operations, we have the ambition to electrify our own car fleet by 2030.”
Peter Badik, co-founder and managing partner of GreenWay (Slovakia/Poland): “We are fully supportive of tighter CO2 standards and a phase-out of ICE vehicle sales by 2035, if not before. We see great interest in EVs in Central and Eastern Europe. Our last incentive program for €6 million sold out in less than two minutes. New models fit for more user groups will make EVs even more attractive. As a charge point operator and e-mobility provider, we are working every day to provide a smooth, seamless, customer-friendly recharging experience to drivers in this region and stand ready to meet the coming demand.”
Oren Ezer, chief executive officer of ElectReon: “We support the call for the European Union, its bodies and all its members to set a clear deadline for phasing out of all ICEs across the continent to send a clear and strong message to the rest of the world, the automotive industry and the fossil fuel industry. We strongly encourage the EU to make this announcement before the COP26 in November and the deadline should be before 2035.
“Additionally, we strongly urge the EU to set forth a coordinated charging masterplan across the continent to support a truly sustainable and environmentally sound transition to electric transport. We appeal to European leaders to build a plan that takes into account the compelling scientific evidence for Electric Road Systems (ERS) and wireless charging solutions that enable the greatest energy efficiency pathways, the reduction of battery capacities and therefore, the biggest CO2 reductions.”
¹ The companies which have joined the open call as of 26 April 2021 are: Allego, Ample, Arrival, Chargepoint, Coca-Cola European Partners, Electreon, Enel X, EV Box, Fastned, Greenway, Iberdrola, IKEA Retail, LeasePlan, Leclanché, Li-cycle, Lime, Metro AG, Novamont, Novo Nordisk, SAP Labs in France, Schneider Electric, Sky, Uber, Vattenfall, Verkor, Volvo Cars, Vulcan Energy.
The organizations which have joined the open call are: AVERE, Drive Electric, EGEC Geothermal, European Public Health Alliance (EPHA), and ShareAction.
² This is in line with the COP26 Presidency and UN assessment that an end of new ICE and hybrid sales by 2035 in major markets (including the EU) is required if we are to reach global net zero emissions by 2050. See Race to Zero Breakthroughs, page 9.
Courtesy of Transport & Environment.