Lobbying by Germany means the internal-combustion engine will have a life in cars sold in Europe beyond 2035 – provided they are only powered by synthetic petrol and diesel.
UPDATE, 28 March 2023: A new deal struck between Germany and the European Union will ensure petrol and diesel engines continue to be sold in Europe beyond the year 2035.
Officials in Europe have confirmed new cars with traditional internal-combustion engines will be allowed after 2035, provided they run on carbon-neutral synthetic fuels.
Franks Timmermans, Vice President of the European Commission, wrote on Twitter that the European Commission had come to an agreement with Germany on the use of synthetic fuels in cars.
It’s understood the regulations – which call for a 100 per cent reduction in tailpipe emissions from new cars sold in the region – will be voted on by European Union diplomats in the coming days.
The original report continues unchanged below.
22 March 2023: The European Union will introduce greater provision to allow the sale of new cars with internal-combustion engines after 2035 – provided they run only on synthetic petrol and diesel fuels.
According to a draft plan reportedly sighted by news outlet Reuters, the European Union’s executive branch wants to create a new type of category for vehicles running solely on carbon-neutral fuels.
The move is an attempt to quash dissent from member countries over the original proposal – led by Germany – which delayed a vote on the proposed laws set to come into effect in 2035.
The laws require a reduction in new-car tailpipe emissions of 100 per cent by 2035 – effectively banning vehicles with traditional petrol and diesel engines altogether.
However, car-makers including Porsche, BMW, and Lamborghini have been pushing for the use of synthetic fuels, which would prolong the use of internal-combustion engines for the foreseeable future.
Synthetic fuels – or e-fuels as they are sometimes referred to – are created by capturing carbon from the atmosphere and turning that into combustible liquids using sustainable energy such as wind and solar.
As with a traditional car, the liquid is burned inside the engine, with the emissions released into the atmosphere via the car’s exhaust.
MORE: Europe to ban petrol and diesel cars from 2035, but with concessions
However, as the carbon being released is the same amount as was previously taken out of the atmosphere and adds no more, the fuel is considered carbon neutral.
The synthetic fuel can be created to replace traditional unleaded petrol, diesel, or high-octane avgas used by aircraft.
Despite the European Union agreeing in February to the 2035 proposal – a 36-page document that made only one reference to synthetic fuels – a German-led cohort began lobbying for guaranteed allowances for the use of internal-combustion engines when powered by synthetic fuels barely a month later.
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