The European Union’s planned legislation to effectively ban from 2035 the sale of new cars and vans still equipped with gas or diesel engines appear to be thwarted thanks to objections of ministers from Germany and several other E.U. member states.
The ministers, which include German transport minister Volker Wissing, have been seeking an exemption that would allow vehicles with internal-combustion engines designed to run on carbon-neutral e-fuels to still be sold beyond the cutoff date.
Frans Timmermans, head of the European Commission and the person overseeing the E.U.’s climate policy, took to Twitter on Saturday to announce an agreement on the exemption had been reached.
“We have found an agreement with Germany on the future use of e-fuels in cars,” he said in the tweet.
An e-fuel, also referred to as synthetic fuel, is any fuel in which the carbon circle is completely neutral so the carbon utilized to produce the fuel is the same quantity as the carbon emitted from burning the fuel in an engine. The production process typically involves some form of carbon capture technology. Porsche and its partners already have a pilot plant in Chile producing e-fuel. Aramco and Formula 1 are also working on separate efforts to develop e-fuels in commercial quantities.
The planned E.U. legislation calls for 55% less CO2 emissions from new passenger cars by 2030 versus 2021 levels as an interim goal, and eventually a 100% reduction by 2035. For vans, it will be a 50% reduction by 2030 and 100% by 2035. The legislation is part of the E.U.’s overarching plan to become climate neutral by 2050.
Citing an E.U. document outlining plans for the e-fuel exemption, Reuters reported on Monday the E.U. will create a new vehicle category in the legislation for cars that can exclusively run on e-fuel.
The agreement on the exemption now paves the way for the legislation to be finally approved, which is expected to take place on Tuesday.
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