The European Union proposed plans to end gasoline and diesel car sales within 20 years and accelerate the switch to electric vehicles to make Europe the world’s first climate-neutral continent by 2050. As a part of this plan, sales of new cars and vans that produce carbon emissions would be banned as of 2035.
This announcement came as the EU released a package of climate and energy laws, aiming to reduce the union’s greenhouse gas emissions by 55% by 2030, and set a path for achieving net-zero by 2050. With this deal, the group aims to push up the number of charging every 60 kilometers (about 37 miles) and fueling points every 150 kilometers (about 93 miles) along major highways. In addition, incentives for zero and low-emission vehicles will be phased out in 2030 as clean vehicles will no longer be competing with gasoline and diesel engines, removing the need for government support.
Other initiatives in this plan include:
- Proposing stronger CO2 emissions standards for cars and vans to accelerate zero-emission mobility
- Setting limits on greenhouse gas content of energy used by ships at European ports
- Planting three billion trees across Europe by 2030
- Determining an overall EU target for carbon removals
- Producing a report every two years to introduce new measures and make sure progress is being made, with a full review carried out in 2028
Although full electrification seems ambitious, major car manufacturers have been making significant changes to be greener, especially in the past year:
- In June 2021, Volkswagen announced plans to stop selling cars with combustion engines in Europe by 2035, and later in China and the United States. The manufacturer also plans for more than 70% of its namesake brand sales to be EV from 2030.
- Stellantis recently announced that it would invest more than 30 billion euros in electric vehicle development by 2025.
- GM announced in January 2021 aims to stop selling gasoline and diesel light-duty vehicles by 2035 as a pledge to become carbon neutral by 2040.
- Ford announced plans to invest at least $29 billion through 2025 to deliver all-new electrified vehicles and reach carbon neutrality by 2050.
- AlixPartners, a global consulting firm, estimates that for 2021 through 2025, carmakers and suppliers worldwide will invest $330 billion in electrification, up 41% from its estimate of $250 billion from 2020 to 2024.
- Volvo plans to sell only electric vehicles from 2030.
In regards to consumer concerns about the price of electric vehicles compared to their fossil fuel cars, EU officials stated that the upfront price of electric cars is expected to fall in the coming years, and predicted the total cost of ownership would dip below that of gas-powered vehicles as soon as 2027.
Other countries in different regions with phase-out targets include Israel (targeting 2030), Canada (targeting 2035), Singapore, and Costa Rica (2050). In the United States, California and Massachusetts have set targets for 2035.