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EU delays final vote to ban combustion vehicles by 2035 as Germany suddenly wavers

Germany has unexpectedly objected to the EU’s planned vote to officially ban combustion vehicles by 2035, questioning its support for the law and how it will affect the industry, particularly by not properly explaining how the use of e-fuels will be regulated.

European Parliament, Commission, and EU members worked through months of negotiations last year before agreeing to a potentially groundbreaking law that would ban the sale of new combustion cars by 2035.

Since the announcement of the agreed upon law, some automakers in Europe have pushed back, requesting the 2035 expiry to be extended to 2040 and beyond. Despite those efforts, the EU put its stamp of approval on the combustion ban last month, requiring one last final vote in March to enact it into law.

Up until today, the final vote felt like more or a formality asa majority of EU members appeared to have been on board, but major automotive hub Germany has suddenly begun waffling on its support of the law, stating the assurances related to CO2-neutral fuels in order to lengthen ICE sales remain murky.

Still, there is hope that a deal in the EU can still be made and the combustion ban can continue as planned. Here’s the latest.

EU combustion ban

Germany wants e-fuels allowed in EU combustion car ban

With Germany’s sudden break from the pack, others have shown dismay, including Italy who has previous shared its intentions to vote against the EU’s 2035 combustion ban.

Audi CEO Markus Duesmann spoke to the contrary, siding with Germany’s environmental ministry led by “the Greens” which has advised the country to vote in favor of the phase out. Duesmann spoke during an interview on Friday:

Audi has made a clear decision: We are phasing out the internal combustion engine in 2033 because the battery-electric vehicle is the most efficient method for individual mobility,

So German’s own automakers are fully embracing all-electric lineups, but its government is digging its heels in the ground to continue to sell CO2 emitting vehicles 12 years from now? With the approved use of synthetic fuels, Germany believes this is possible, but wants more clarity on the topic before approving the the EU’s combustion ban.

Top comment by Ian Ollmann

Liked by 29 people

Synthetic fuels will fail because of the energy losses to produce them. It’s basic physics. If you can charge your car for 50 kWh, and it costs 100-150 kWh to make an equivalent amount of e-fuel, then e-fuel is wasteful. This means it will be more expensive. Add on to the the fact that unless it is fuel cell, the e-fuel engine will waste 60-70% of that energy, on top of the repair/reliability problems with combustion engines and it is no contest. Electric drive doesn’t have these problems.

This is about German and Italian motor brands being able to make a profit going forward. It is not about physical realities. Fortunately at the end of the day, nobody escapes physical laws, not governments, not automakers, and not consumers. There is a better way. Those who don’t get it will continue to have it proven upon their person / finances until bone gives way to gray matter.

ICE is dead.

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German transport minister Volker Wissing criticized the EU Commission’s call for strict climate protection while simultaneously making it more difficult to achieve such targets without alternative solutions like climate-neutral fuels. The EU is now scrambling to offer provisions that establish how these e-fuels can be used in combustion vehicles after 2035, despite the evidence that electric vehicles will inevitably dominate the market.

A spokesperson for the EU Commission said it “will consider the potential contribution of CO2-neutral fuels to reach climate neutral mobility.” Furthermore, the EU is in contact with its members to discuss any and all issues pertaining to the law.

German officials believe the 2035 combustion ban can remain intact as EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will attend a German cabinet meeting this weekend, where the combustion ban is very likely to be discussed. Germany’s state secretary of the federal ministry for economic affairs and climate action Sven Giegold said negotiations are difficult, but hope remains:

If the commission has a credible stance in conversations with the ministers and the German government, I’m optimistic that a solution will be found.

This story is ongoing. Let’s hope Germany comes back around.

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