The revised rules on CO2 emission performance standards adopted in Brussels today by EU member states are a major step forward for European climate policy. Under the new regulation, from 2035, all new cars and vans registered in the EU are set to be zero emission. Previously registered vehicles with combustion engines can remain in operation. Today’s decision marks the conclusion of the legislative process at EU level, enabling the regulation to enter into force. At the same time, the European Commission indicated willingness in the coming months to create an option outside of the fleet standards for registering vehicles with combustion engines after 2035 if they run exclusively on CO2-neutral fuels. This will require establishing a new category for vehicles running exclusively on e-fuels.
Federal Environment Minister Steffi Lemke commented: "The member states today voted in favour of zero-carbon new vehicles from 2035, sending a strong message for the ramp-up of electric vehicles. This is a key step towards achieving Europe’s climate targets in the transport sector and is also vital for the EU Fit for 55 package as a whole. It provides the automotive industry with the needed planning certainty. Electric vehicles are more efficient, more cost effective and above all zero emissions. It is good that we were able to reach a solution with the European Commission that paves the way for the new fleet emission targets while taking into account the concerns of the German Free Democrats."
Today, the EU’s Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council adopted the new rules on CO2 emission performance standards for passenger cars and light commercial vehicles. From the outset, the German government supported the Commission’s proposal and its specific design. Germany also ultimately approved the result of the trilogue negotiations. This includes the target of cutting greenhouse gas emissions for new passenger cars by at least 55 percent by 2030 relative to 2021 levels and only allowing zero-emission cars in the EU from 2035 onwards. The CO2 standards will be adjusted gradually. The standards apply to the average emissions of all passenger cars and light commercial vehicles newly registered in the EU in one year.
In addition, the European Commission has announced it will implement Recital 11 after the regulation has entered into force. In the coming months, the Commission will seek to create an option outside of the fleet standards for registering vehicles with combustion engines after 2035 if they run exclusively on CO2-neutral fuels. The EU’s Renewable Energy Directive (RED II) stipulates that e-fuels can only be produced using renewable sources of energy such as solar or wind power. A delegated regulation under RED II specifies the details of certification. In order to transpose its provisions into national law, the German Environment Ministry will shortly present a draft for a revision of the 37th Federal Immission Control Ordinance (BImSchV).