The European Parliament has formally approved a law to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars in the European Union from 2035 in a bid to accelerate the transition to electric vehicles.
The new legislation, part of a wider EU effort to tackle climate change, says carmakers must achieve a 100% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from new cars sold by 2035, meaning no new fossil-fuel vehicles could be sold in the 27-country bloc.
With 340 votes in favor, 279 against and 21 abstentions, the new rules also pave the way for more immediate emissions reduction targets. New cars and vans sold from 2030 will have to meet an emissions reduction of 55% and 50%, respectively, from 2021 levels. The previous 2030 emissions target for new cars sold was 37, 5%.
The law was first accepted by negotiators from EU countries, the European Parliament and the European Commission in October last year, so Tuesday’s approval is just one step before the law is formally approved and the rules do not begin to come into force. This should happen in March.
MEP Jan Huitema said the target revisions are crucial steps if Europe is to achieve climate neutrality by 2050.
“These goals create clarity for the auto industry and drive innovation and investment for automakers,” Huitema said in a statement. “Buying and driving zero-emission cars will become cheaper for consumers and a second-hand market will emerge faster. This makes sustainable driving accessible to everyone.
However, some automakers, industry players and countries have pushed back against the EU since the proposed law in July 2021. Renault, for example, said in 2021 that it look for an extension to the proposed plan to ban sales of internal combustion engine vehicles in the EU by 2035, hoping instead to push back the transition to 2040 so it can provide more affordable cars to EV buyers.
Due to resistance, the final deal approved on Tuesday includes flexibilities, including a caveat for smaller automakers producing fewer than 10,000 vehicles a year to be able to negotiate lower targets through 2036.