German car associations have rioted over the European Parliament’s decision to back a de facto ban on the sale of new combustion-engined cars from 2035, deeming it too ambitious and costly, and going against the market and citizens.
Banning the sale of petrol and diesel-powered cars is a central part of the European Commission’s long-term policy goal of becoming climate neutral by 2050. Previously, the transport sector was one of the climatic laggards of the block.
After a large majority in the European Parliament voted in favor of a 2035 ban on Wednesday afternoon (June 8), automakers wasted no time in going wild.
“The European Parliament has today taken a decision against the citizens, against the market, against innovation and against modern technologies,” Hildegard Müller, president of the German automotive industry association VDA, said in a statement. statement issued a few hours later on Wednesday.
Citing lackluster charging infrastructure in Europe, Müller said it was too early for such an outright ban. His association had previously warned that the rollout of charging infrastructure in Germany was too slow.
“So it is simply too early for such a goal. This will increase costs for consumers and jeopardize consumer confidence.
Its position was supported by the VDA’s European counterpart, ACEA.
“Given the volatility and uncertainty we experience daily globally, any long-term regulation beyond this decade is premature at this early stage,” said Oliver Zipse, ACEA President and CEO of German automaker BMW.
The German motorists’ association, ADAC, rang in thus, expressing in a Press release his “regrets” at the ban and noting that “it will not be possible to achieve the ambitious climate protection targets in transport with electromobility alone”.
Gift in China?
The automakers were joined by the leader of Italy’s far-right Lega party, Matteo Salvini, who referred to decision as “madness”; calling it “a gift to China, a disaster for millions of Italians and Europeans”.
However, Italian luxury car makers managed to secure an exception for automakers like Ferrari, Bugatti and Lamborghini who could be exempted from the de facto combustion engine ban, the so-called “Ferrari exception”.
The industry’s unanimous front in favor of the combustion engine is not without its critics.
“Anyone who is still a member of the ADAC supports an association that does not care about climate protection”, said Volker Quaschning, professor of regenerative energies at HTW Berlin.
Next lobbying opportunity
For car manufacturers’ associations, which had lobbied to avoid an outright ban stance in Parliament, the next battle has only just begun, as the 27 Member States must reach a common approach in the Council, before negotiating with the parliament.
“The Council is now called upon to adopt a clear position in favor of technological openness and effective CO2 reduction in order to reach a viable compromise in the trialogue negotiations”, said the technical director of the ADAC, Karsten Schulze.
Similar intentions have been adopted by the VDA.
Regarding the Council negotiations, “we will continue to advocate that the appropriate framework conditions are first created for such a far-reaching decision: fleet regulation and the expansion of charging infrastructure must be considered together,” Müller said.
The German government, which historically defends the interests of its car industry in Brussels, is likely to be a prime target as the Greens in government are openly in favor of the ban, while the job-saving Social Democrat SPD and the liberal FDP, in the spirit of technological neutrality, are likely to be more receptive.
FDP Transport Minister Volker Wissing has already spoken out against the ban. “Many jobs depend on the combustion engine,” he said. dpaadding that he would fight for an exception for engines running on synthetic fuels.
And he has already been supported by Christian Lindner, leader of the FDP party and Minister of Finance. The German government should aim for a change in EU plans, he said. said.
“Germany, as an important voice in Europe, should reconsider its negotiating position,” stressed ADAC’s Schulze.
[Edited by Zoran Radosavljevic]