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Greens Laud EU New ICE Ban, While Manufacturers Demand Fast Charger Action

Greens Laud EU New ICE Ban, While Manufacturers Demand Fast Charger Action.

“It is now vital that all the framework conditions for going fully electric are put in place – including the roll-out of a truly EU-wide network”

Environmentalists welcomed the European Union (EU) decision to ban the sale of new internal combustion engine (ICE) powered cars and SUVs by 2035, but the auto industry warned the policy wouldn’t work without a huge investment in the charging network. 

“The decision breaks the hold of the oil industry over transport and gives Europe a fighting chance of decarbonizing by 2050,” said Brussels-based green advocates Transport & Environment. 

But dissenting voices reckoned the move would waste a valuable resource, ruin the European industry in favor of China, and doubted its environmental friendliness.

The EU’s environment ministers Wednesday endorsed a European Parliament proposal to eliminate carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from new cars by 2035, which effectively means only full-electric vehicles will qualify for sale to the public.

The European Automobile Manufacturers Association, by its French acronym ACEA, described the plan as ambitious and called for drastic action on building the charging infrastructure.

“It is now vital that all the framework conditions for going fully electric are put in place – including the roll-out of a truly EU-wide network of charging and refueling infrastructure and access the necessary raw materials,” ACEA said in a statement.

ACEA has largely cooperated with the EU decision to force electric cars on to its citizens, while at the same time complaining that it was dangerous for politicians to impose technologies like battery-electric power not yet proven as capable of becoming cheap enough or able to meet the needs of a mass market.

Some experts disagree with the move to ban ICE power.

Kelly Senecal, author of “Racing Toward Zero – The Untold Story of Driving Green” with Felix Leach, has said the EU’s “premature” drive to kill ICE cars will waste valuable and proven resources. 

Wrong thing to do
Petrol electric hybrids and plug-in hybrids will presumably be banned by the new rules.

“Banning internal combustion engines is the wrong thing to do if we’re trying to decarbonize quickly,” Senecal said in a recent posting on LinkedIn. It will also have a detrimental effect on reaching climate goals, he said.

Britain has already decided to ban the sale of ICE cars by 2030.

The ministers did add a potential loophole to their plan, with a proposal to allow so-called e-fuels, or synthetic fuels.

T&E didn’t like that.

“Cars powered by e-fuels emit significantly more CO2 than battery electric vehicles over their lifecycle and pump out as much toxic NOx emissions as (gasoline) vehicles,” T&E said.

T&E official Julia Poliscanova was ecstatic about the news, with reservations.

“The end of the combustion engine is great news for the climate. But new proposals on e-fuels are a diversion. Let’s not waste any more time on e-fuels and instead focus on rolling out charging, re-skilling workers for the electric transition and responsibly sourcing material for batteries,” she said in a statement.

Dr John Constable, Energy Director at the London think tank Global Warming Policy Foundation, was less enthusiastic

“The EU’s ban on ICEs in favor of EVs prematurely abandons over a century of accumulated engineering expertise and advantage, handing industrial parity and eventual dominance of the automotive sector to China. And it almost certainly isn’t green. Why would anyone do this?”

EU governments will now negotiate with the European Parliament on the final law.

Dissension in the ranks
Before the environment ministers took their decision, there had appeared to be dissension behind the scenes as members of the German coalition government took opposing views on 2035 as an end to the sale of new ICE vehicles. And earlier this week Italy, Portugal, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Romania called for a 90% cut by 2035, delaying 100% until 2040. In the event, a compromise to include synthetic fuels was agreed although it’s not clear just how much of a loophole that might provide.

According to Frank Schwope, analyst with Norddeutsche Landesbank Girozentrale, the 2035 deadline will not cause carmakers much trouble. Suppliers though might not find it so easy.

“Many of them have already committed themselves to an (earlier) phase-out of internal combustion engines in Europe. The manufacturers are perfectly capable of implementing a phase-out of internal combustion engines as early as 2030. However, the phasing out of the internal combustion engine is a big problem for many suppliers who lack follow-up orders.

“All in all, I wouldn’t be surprised if the phase-out of the internal combustion engine is brought forward once again in the next few years,” he said.

“E-fuels will only eke out a niche existence, as they are very expensive and have very low efficiency compared to electricity,” Schwope said. 

Olive Zipse, ACEA president and BMW CEO, pointed out that the ICE ban still left the way open for hydrogen, and wht he called “CO”-neutral fuels” 


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