After the European Commission, it is now the turn of the European Parliament to vote in favor of banning the sale of thermal cars in 2035. But that does not yet mean that this measure will come into force.
We have been hearing about this measure for a while now, which worries enthusiasts and combustion engine purists. But if the European Union has been talking for years about the idea ofone day ban the sale of thermal cars on its territory, it was only in May 2022 that a first draft of this project was born. Then, in June, the European Commission voted in favor of this measure, which was still not final at the time.
A new stage
Indeed, and as in all major institutions, a vote is not enough to pass a law. Especially when it has such a great impact, since it forces all manufacturers to review their strategy. Although many of them, such as Lotus, Alpine or even Ford and Volvo had not necessarily waited for this measure to announce their desire to become 100% electric in the future.
Thus, if the ban on the sale of thermal cars had been validated for the first time, this bill had to go back to the European Parliament, who had already been able to study it a little earlier. Without much surprise, the latter therefore studied the question again and voted in favor of this measure, as he announced in a press release.
Adopted by 340 votes for, 279 votes against and 21 abstentions, this text therefore provides for reduce CO2 emissions by 100% from car traffic by January 1, 2035. Without saying so explicitly, this therefore confirms the end of the sale of new thermal cars and utility vehicles on this date. Synthetic fuels, whose development seems increasingly compromised due to high cost, should also be affected, as well as rechargeable hybrids.
Nevertheless, and even if a recent study proves that they are far from clean, the text also provides for the possibility ofauthorize the sale of these two engines after this deadline. Provided that they completely eliminate emissions of polluting gases.
To note that manufacturers selling less than 10,000 cars per year will still be able to market thermal models until the end of 2035. Those who total less than 1,000 registrations each year are completely exempt from following this obligation.
Furthermore, the European Union will also evolve the ZLEV incentive mechanism (zero- and low-emission vehicles). Calculated according to the number of hybrid and electric vehicles sold by each manufacturer, this allows them to register more thermal cars whether sales targets for electrified models are met. A kind of incentive to pollute which will therefore be reviewed.
From 2025, manufacturers will have to sell at least 25% PHEV cars and electric to benefit from less stringent emissions targets. This figure will be 17% for light commercial vehicles. From 2030, on the other hand, this measure will be abolished and brands will then no longer have any tolerance.
But these changes will not happen overnight, and above all in a totally arbitrary way. Indeed, the European Parliament confirms that in December 2026, the Commission will assess the progress of this measure and will propose solutions depending on the situation. One year earlier, a new methodology evaluating the CO2 emissions of cars throughout their lives will be set up by the European Commission.
Moreover, this measure has yet to be examined by the Council of the European Union, which will rule on its entry into force. If he votes in favor, then the ban will be official.
A relevant measure?
But if the intentions of the major authorities are laudable, not all MEPs are yet convinced. Relayed by France 24the Czech Katerina Konecna alerts a future dependence on China and Africa, where lithium and cobalt mainly come from, with a polluting extraction and carried out in unethical conditions. Moreover, prohibiting the sale of thermal cars could then encourage Chinese brands to invade the European marketwhile this trend has already begun.
This greatly worries specialists, who fear that the Old Continent will become a mere importer, to the detriment of the job market and the environment. This is notably why the government plans to restrict the ecological bonus only to electric cars produced in Europe. One of the solutions would also be the rise of the sodium battery, which would do without lithium altogether. This would also reduce the price of electric cars and limit the risk of battery shortages.
Cobalt-free batteries (LFP) are more and more numerous, while lithium deposits are multiplying all over the world. What reduce dependence on a handful of countries for the manufacture of batteries.
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