The European Commission will propose that all cars sold in the continent by 2035 will have to be “emissions-free.” Although it has not explicitly said that, approving this rule will imply all combustion-engined vehicles will be forbidden by that year.
The EU Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, said that in an interview to Sueddeutsche Zeitung. According to her, the commission must establish an end date “after which all cars will have to be emissions-free” to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.
The measure is part of the “Fit for 50” climate package presented on July 14. It will now be negotiated in the European Parliament, and people already preview that it will take many months to be approved. France would already have opposed the plan, according to Bloomberg.
Some executives, such as Andy Palmer, don’t think that the idea will represent a ban per se. Demanding zero-emission vehicles could still allow ICE to be employed in some applications. According to his tweet below, they could burn synthetic fuels or hydrogen.
Matthias – at no point does it propose a ban on ICE and that’s important for we should not dismiss net zero emerging technology around synthetic fuels and hot hydrogen both of which use ICE; important because not all segments lend themselves to EV and EV in itself is not Co2 free
— Dr. Andy Palmer (@AndyatAuto) July 14, 2021 The issue is that even an engine burning hydrogen will need oil to lubricate its moving parts and that oil will also incinerate in the process. Combustion engines are inherently inefficient, with the best ones converting only 40% of the fuel energy into movement. All the rest turns to heat, which is equivalent to saying that you burn $60 out of every $100 you spend in these efficiency examples. If we are to consider the average engine, you burn $80 out of $100.
Volkswagen is pursuing bioethanol as a clean solution for emerging countries. However, it also proposes to use that fuel in regular engines when it would be better used as a cheap hydrogen storage method for fuel cells.
Maybe 2035 is too soon to ensure the automotive industry has time to shift to electric cars or other carbon-neutral solutions. That is what the European Parliament will have to decide with eyes not only on climate change but also on jobs created by car companies and their suppliers. As Winfried Hermann told autoevolution, the secret is balance.