Germany asks EU for wiggle room on combustion engine phaseout

(EurActiv, 28 Feb 2023) Germany has asked the European Union to propose rules allowing combustion-engine cars that run on CO2-neutral fuels to be sold in Europe after 2035, the date by which the EU has agreed all new cars should have zero emissions.

Under the landmark law agreed by the EU last year requiring that by 2035 carmakers achieve a 100% cut in CO2 emissions from new cars sold, it would be impossible to sell new fossil fuel-powered vehicles in the 27-country bloc.

The law is aimed at speeding up Europe’s shift to electric vehicles to combat climate change. But Germany is seeking wiggle room for combustion engines that run on fuels produced using electricity, or e-fuels.

“The commission should come forward with a proposal how e-fuels can be used, or how combustion engines which are run with climate-neutral fuels can be can be organised,” Germany’s state secretary for transport, Michael Theurer, said on Monday (27 February).

Speaking on his arrival to a meeting of EU transport and energy ministers in Stockholm, Theurer said Germany was convinced battery electric vehicles are the “way to go”, but wanted to see other CO2-free technologies also supported.

“We need hydrogen [fuel cell] technology and also e-fuels, especially in heavy vehicles, in truck transport,” he said.

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EurActiv, 28 Feb 2023: Germany asks EU for wiggle room on combustion engine phaseout