EU lawmakers have backed a 2035 deadline for zero-emissions cars but narrowly voted down plans for ambitious emissions targets for carmakers which are essential to driving down the costs of electric vehicles earlier. Green group Transport & Environment (T&E) called on the European Parliament’s plenary to support a 2027 interim target and a more ambitious 2030 standard to make EVs accessible to more Europeans in this decade.
The European Parliament’s environment committee voted to require carmakers to cut their average fleet emissions by 20% in 2025, compared to 2021, by 55% in 2030, and by 100% in 2035. Conservatives and even some progressive MEPs rejected a new interim target in 2027 and a higher 2030 goal which would require manufacturers to ramp up sales of electric cars. T&E said the increased 2025 goal could help spur action by carmakers early this decade but not enough for the EU and member states to hit their climate goals in 2030.
Alex Keynes, clean vehicles manager at T&E, said: “The EU clean car rules are driving down the costs of the electric vehicles that we need to decarbonise cars and meet our climate targets. But the EV boom will falter for the next 10 years unless lawmakers step in with an interim target in 2027 and a more ambitious goal in 2030. Without it, Europe may not sell enough zero-emissions cars to meet its own 2030 goals as well as those of many EU countries.”
The committee voted against a loophole in the CO2 targets for synthetic fuels in cars, the oil industry’s latest fake green solution. E-fuels have been touted by the fossil fuel industry as a way to prolong the life of the internal combustion engine beyond decarbonisation deadlines. But tests show burning synthetic fuels will still pump toxic NOx emissions into the air, while running a car on e-fuel is far more expensive compared to an electric vehicle. Producing e-fuels is also much less efficient than powering a battery electric car.
Alex Keynes said: “Battery electric vehicles offer drivers the cleanest, most efficient and affordable way to decarbonise, while synthetic fuels in cars would provide a new lease of life for old polluting engines. The parliament needs to keep the door closed to what would be a costly, inefficient diversion from the EU’s race to net zero.”
The European Parliament plenary will vote on whether to adopt the car CO2 standards on 7 or 8 June. MEPs would then begin negotiations with EU governments on the final law.
Van-makers would be required to reduce the average emissions of new vehicles by 15% in 2025 and 50% in 2030, the MEPs said. All new vans in 2035 would need to be zero-emissions, they said. Today cars account for 13% of greenhouse gas emissions in the EU and vans 2%.