The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen.
The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen.OLIVIER HOSLET (EFE)

The European Commission (EC) gave in to pressure from Germany, the largest vehicle manufacturer in the European Union and one of the largest in the world, which in recent weeks has been reluctant to veto the sale of combustion cars from 2035 onwards. CE seen by Reuters, the registration of cars that can only run on synthetic fuels or e-fuels, as Germany demanded.

The draft of the proposal suggests the creation of a new category of vehicle type in the European Union for this type of car, which must include technology that prevents its operation if it uses polluting fuel. The proposal could offer a way for automakers to continue selling combustion engine vehicles beyond 2035, when the European Union is expected to ban the sale of new cars that emit CO2. After months of negotiations, EU countries and the European Parliament agreed to the law last year, but Germany’s transport ministry surprised other countries by raising last-minute objections to the law, days before a final vote would see it go into effect. in effect.

The main demand of the Ministry of Transport is that the EU allow the sale of new vehicles powered by synthetic fuels from 2035. On Monday, the said ministry indicated that negotiations with the European Commission on the expected end of the new engines combustion from 2035, but added that he could not say when an agreement would be reached.

Italy (another major car producer) also sided with Germany and was reluctant in early March to support a ban on combustion vehicles from 2035. Ending registration of these types of cars (they will continue to be vehicles, but it will no longer be possible to sell new vehicles of this type), is key to achieving Brussels’ emission reduction targets in its ‘Fit for 55’ plan, with which it aims to reduce polluting emissions in the EU by 55% by 2030 and achieve climate neutrality by 2050.

This change in position by the European Commission will allow manufacturers to continue their quest for zero emissions, but respecting what the sector calls “technological neutrality”, that is, not imposing on them what type of technology they must use to reach the goal of emissions.

In any case, manufacturers are clearly betting on electric cars. Stellantis, the largest vehicle manufacturer in Spain, has already announced that it will only sell electric cars in Europe from 2030 and the Volkswagen group will do the same but with the horizon of 2033. VW announced during the presentation of results this month that it will invest 180 billion between 2023 and 2027, more than two-thirds of which will go towards electrification and software. The VW group hopes that the electric vehicle will continue to grow at a good pace and represent 20% of its deliveries worldwide by 2025 (in 2022, they represented 7% of the group’s sales, with 572,100 units). To this end, it will build battery factories all over the world, one of them in Sagunto (Valencia), in which it will invest 3,000 million.

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