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An agreement with a review clause
Environment ministers from the 27 EU member countries reached an agreement this week stipulating that CO2 emissions from new cars sold in 2035 must be reduced by 100% compared to their 2021 level.
In the current state of industrial developments, this amounts de facto to prohibiting from this date the sale of new cars equipped with internal combustion engines. However, the leaders agreed to reconsider the question in 2026 “taking into account technological developments”, thus agreeing to review the question of plug-in hybrids and synthetic fuels.
The case of plug-in hybrids and synthetic fuels reviewed in 2026
“We are technologically neutral,” said Frans Timmermans, Commission Vice-President in charge of the Green Deal, during a press conference. ” Some car manufacturers believe that hybrid vehicles will allow us to achieve the objectives. For the moment, this is not the case, […] but we will assess this possibility as we have committed to, in 2026,” he added.
The European Commissioner has not closed the door to synthetic fuels either. “It doesn’t seem realistic […], these fuels seem exorbitant in terms of cost, but if the manufacturers provide us with proof to the contrary, so much the better. The ball is in their court, the Commission will be open about this,” he said.
The use of synthetic fuels, made from hydrogen and CO2 captured in nature or from industrial activities, would give new life to heat engines, without being forced to banish them. This technology nevertheless remains very expensive and energy-intensive at present, without eliminating nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions.
Synthetic fuel: Germany gets its way
While the question of a review clause in 2026 had so far been ruled out by the European Commission, German Environment Minister Steffi Lemke proposed an amendment on Tuesday to allow “CO2 neutral fuels” to be authorized. .
Supported in particular by Italy, Germany finally got its waywinning the case.
It should be noted, however, that Steffi Lemke’s position had been contested within the German government, in particular by the Minister of Finance, Christian Lindner.
Italy and Ferrari also win their case
Italy, for its part, pleaded for a five-year extension of combustion engines – i.e. until 2040, in order to soften the shock of the transition for the sector and protect Ferrari…
It is with such an aim that the ministers of the 27 have at the same time approved the amendment allowing niche vehicles to be exempted from constraints until the end of 2035, voted by MEPs on June 8th – and sometimes called ” Ferrari amendment”.
From now on, manufacturers who sell less than 10,000 vehicles per year (mainly luxury or sports brands) will see the exemption from CO2 constraints – which was originally due to end in 2030 – postponed to 2036.
Equipment manufacturers satisfied to see “renewable” fuels not ruled out
The association of European automotive suppliers (Clepa) welcomed the progress of the discussions and the open door to other alternatives. “We have been defending for a long time an open technological approach “, recalled its general secretary, Sigrid de Vries.
“We are pleased to see the Council supporting renewable fuels. We foresee a strong development of electric vehicles, but there are already ready-to-use solutions for hybrid vehicles, as well as for cars and heavy trucks deployed on the roads,” she added.
Our opinion, by leblogauto.com
A position which could “arrange” both manufacturers – while plug-in hybrids (PHEV) are increasingly criticized for their very controversial ecological aspect – and Germany, German manufacturers and politicians from across the Rhine constantly advocating for e-fuel, a fuel that would allow Porsche in particular to face up to a large industrial and commercial challenge, by offering its customers another alternative than certainly sumptuous … but electric cars. Understand: less powerful.
Same for Italy and Ferrari. Electric and sports do not necessarily go “good” together.
Although the environment ministers of the 27 member countries of the European Union have agreed to authorize only new zero-emission cars in 2035, which de facto amounts to banning internal combustion engines, they have not closed the leads to the authorization of plug-in hybrids and synthetic fuels in 2026, taking into account technological developments.
To the delight of Germany, which pleads for e-fuel in order to restrict the technological constraints imposed on Porsche.