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European Parliament Moves To Mandate EVs by 2035

Building on top of last week’s EV charging announcement, the European Union is taking the next step: pushing for all new cars to be EVs by 2035.

Last Week’s Announcement

The EU Parliament has agreed to a set of rules that will see an increase in the number of recharging and alternative refueling stations for cars, trucks, trains, and planes. This is part of the “Fit for 55 in 2030 package” which plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% come 2030. In 2024, each member state must have a plan to meet the minimum national targets for MPs who agree to put in place infrastructure for using alternative fuels.

“At the moment we have 377,000 charging stations in the EU, but this is half the amount that should have been achieved had EU countries lived up to their promises,” said EP rapporteur on alternative fuels infrastructure Ismail Ertug. “We need to tackle this decarbonisation bottleneck and quickly roll out the alternative fuels infrastructure to save the Green Deal.”

The electric car charging stations should be placed every 60 kilometers (about every 37 miles in non-metric speak) on main EU roads by 2026. However, this excludes areas with little traffic or public transportation systems, such as trucks and buses that rely heavily on core TEN-T networks. These regions will have their own set of regulations for these stations.

By 2027, the EU plans to establish an easy-to-use access point for alternative fuels data that includes information on availability, waiting times, and prices at different stations across Europe. This will allow all vehicle drivers to make informed decisions about where to refuel.

MEPs rather suggest that shorter intervals of hydrogen refueling stations should exist along main EU roads (100 km instead of 150 km) and sooner than previously thought (by 2028 rather than by 2031).

On top of these EV plans, they also announced plans for hydrogen shipping. The European Parliament members voted on proposed EU rules about using only renewable and low-carbon fuels for maritime transport. They want the maritime sector to cut down greenhouse gas emissions from ships by 2% starting in 2025, 20% starting in 2035, and 80% starting in 2050 compared to 2020 levels (the Commission had proposed a 13% and 75% reduction). Consequently, this would significantly reduce shipping’s carbon footprint and meet international goals set out under the 2015 Paris agreement.

“This is by far the world’s most ambitious pathway to maritime decarbonisation,” said EP rapporteur on sustainable maritime fuels Jörgen Warborn. “Parliament’s position ensures that our climate targets will be met rapidly and effectively, safeguarding the maritime sector’s competitiveness and ensuring there won’t be carbon leakage or jobs leaving Europe.”

All ships that exceed a gross tonnage of 5000 and are responsible for 90% of emissions would have to follow these guidelines. This includes energy used while docked in EU ports, as well as 50% percent of fuel consumed on journeys where the embarkation or disembarkation point is outside the EU.

The target set by MEPs for renewable fuel usage is 2% by 2030, and they have also mandated that container ships and passenger ships use onshore power supply while docked at main EU ports. This would not only significantly reduce air pollution in the ports, but also the areas surrounding them. To ensure compliance, MEPs are in favor of introducing penalties, with revenues generated going to the Ocean Fund to support decarbonizing maritime sectors, energy efficiency, and propulsion technologies without emissions.

Now, They’re Pushing EVs Even Harder

After pushing for better charging infrastructure and cleaner shipping, they’ve turned their focus back to EVs themselves.

The European Parliament and Council have reached an agreement that by 2035, all new cars registered in Europe will emit zero emissions. As a way of gradually reaching this goal, the average emissions of new cars must be reduced by 55% come 2030, and for vans, 50%. This is the first step in the adoption process of “Fit for 55″ proposals put forth by the Commission earlier this year. Additionally, it shows COP27 attendees how committed the EU is to meeting international climate goals.

“The agreement sends a strong signal to industry and consumers: Europe is embracing the shift to zero-emission mobility,” said Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal, Frans Timmermans. “European carmakers are already proving they are ready to step up to the plate, with increasing and increasingly affordable electric cars coming to the market. The speed at which this change has happened over the past few years is remarkable. It is no wonder that this file is the first one in the entire Fit for 55 package where Member States and the European Parliament have come to a final deal.”

The Commission says the new legislation will make the EU’s transport system more sustainable by 2050, provide cleaner air for Europeans, and marks an important step in delivering the European Green Deal. This clear signal to manufacturers and citizens will accelerate the production and sale of low- and zero-emission vehicles, putting road transport on a firm path to climate neutrality.

In addition, they noted that the EU’s resolve to achieve its climate objectives is evident, and Russia’s aggression in Ukraine has not hindered but rather fast-tracked our journey to becoming the world’s first carbon-neutral continent by 2050.

As usual, the provisional agreement they reached will need to be formally adopted by the Parliament and the Council before it can take effect. Once this process is completed, the new legislation will be published in the Official Journal of the Union and enter into force.

Differing Issues Need Different Approaches

It’s easy to think that EVs generally need one solid plan for deployment, but as U.S. legislation and Tesla’s approach clearly show, infrastructure and the cars themselves are two different issues. But, just because they’re separate doesn’t mean one can work without the other. We’re now seeing Europe realize that both infrastructure and rules for EVs will be needed to maximize adoption.

In many ways, it’s a chicken-and-egg problem, or a “catch 22.” People won’t buy EVs if there’s not a great charging network, and private entities generally won’t invest in charging stations if there are too few potential customers. Fortunately, the EU is taking concrete steps to give both sides of this coin a boost.

Featured image provided by the European Parliament.

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Written By

Jennifer Sensiba is a long time efficient vehicle enthusiast, writer, and photographer. She grew up around a transmission shop, and has been experimenting with vehicle efficiency since she was 16 and drove a Pontiac Fiero. She likes to explore the Southwest US with her partner, kids, and animals. Follow her on Twitter for her latest articles and other random things:


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