In the build-up to the European Parliament elections in June, political landscapes are evolving, and parties are meticulously crafting their manifestos. Recently, a leaked document from the center-right European People’s Party group (EPP) has surfaced, hinting at a potential delay in the internal combustion engine ban in Europe.
Let’s delve into the details of this revelation and its implications for the automotive industry and environmental policies.
Manifestos are windows into a party’s values and priorities, and the EPP’s leaked manifesto is no exception. The key transportation-related revelation revolves around the party’s stance on the phased-out approach to combustion engines in Europe. In a clear and assertive statement, the EPP rejects what they term as a “ban policy” on combustion engines, specifically opposing the proposed 2035 ban.
Critique of the Commission’s “Prohibition Ideology”
Led by German lawmaker Jens Gieseke, the EPP has consistently criticized what they perceive as the Commission’s “prohibition ideology.” Gieseke, who played a pivotal role in discussions on CO2 standards for vehicles, has been vocal in warning against the potential consequences of phasing out combustion engine vehicles by 2035. He draws parallels with a “Havana effect,” foreseeing Europeans continuing to drive old combustion-powered cars for decades.
Technology-Open Approach to Decarbonization
The EPP’s stance aligns with their “technology-open” approach to decarbonization. This approach emphasizes avoiding favoritism towards specific technologies, including electric vehicles, a sentiment shared by the European Commission, albeit with skepticism from critics. The party advocates for a diversified approach that considers various technological solutions in achieving carbon reduction goals.
What sets the EPP’s stance apart is their explicit declaration to “revise [the law] as soon as possible.” This statement carries substantial implications, as the largest group in the European Parliament expresses its intent to reconsider legislation that was already approved.
In March of the previous year, Germany and the European Union had reached a compromise on a proposed ban starting in 2035. Automakers were allowed to continue selling Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles if they run on e-fuel.
The E-Fuel Compromise
E-fuel, produced through a process involving carbon capture and hydrogen production from renewable energy, is deemed carbon-neutral during combustion. This is due to the captured CO2 returning to the atmosphere.
The compromise offers a middle ground, allowing traditional automakers to continue producing ICE vehicles with a technological twist that aligns with the evolving landscape of sustainable energy.