Can the termination of thermal cars in Europe by 2035 take place?

The debates are set to intensify in the European Parliament. MEPs gathered in Strasbourg plenary to vote on Wednesday on 8 June in several climate package ». This set of laws aims to reduce European greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030 and seek to achieve CO2 neutrality by 2050.

Several proposals are on the agenda. One of the flagship measures, very divisive in the program “suitable for 55”, relates to the automotive industry. MEPs will debate the ban on the sale of thermal cars (petrol or diesel) or new hybrids from 2035. Used sales will not be affected. People who bought a new thermal car before their ban will be able to continue driving it after 2035.

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According to 2022 data from the European Parliament, the transport sector is the only one where emissions have increased over the last three decades, with an increase of 33.5% between 1990 and 2019. Road transport accounts for about a fifth of EU emissions, personal cars leading by 60.7% of the sector’s emissions.

50% higher price

“The automotive industry took this turn four years ago with results that are extremely fast,” explains on Franceinfo Luc Chatel, President of the Automotive Platform (PFA) and former Minister of the Fillon governments, between 2007 and 2012. However, he believes that the transition to all-electric is “a risky bet”. Because the price of an electric car is much higher than the price of a thermal car:

“For the consumer, the electric car is 50% more expensive than a thermal car, and today, according to a survey we have done, 95% of French people find that electric cars are too expensive. »

According to Luc Chatel, the mass production of electric vehicles, de factolower their price. But narrow the gap to gasoline or diesel cars “will take several years, five, six, seven years”. Especially since the ability of the industrial substance to adapt and convert to electricity is “another risky bet”. “The worst thing would be if the car industry and European states have spent hundreds of billions of euros, and in the end there are no consumers there, and technically we can not do that. »

Installation difficulties

The ban on thermal vehicles also raises questions and the sector still faces many challenges. First with regard to tenders: “If electric cars remain as they are – SUVs with large batteries – we will not have the raw materials to meet the production requirements in 2035”, indicates to “Liberation” Nicolas Meilhan, consultant at the consulting firm EV-Volumes, specialist in the electric car sector. It is, among other things, the battery components (lithium, cobalt and nickel), mostly imported, that would run out. Not to mention an increase in the price of these metals.

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This is not the only obstacle to the development of this sector. We must also take into account the lack of autonomy of vehicles. Without forgetting that the end of the battery life cycle is also problematic as lithium is still very little recycled. By 2030, the EU plans to require car manufacturers to use 4% recycled lithium in new batteries and 10% by 2035.

Who says electric car also says charging stations. According to the latest barometer from Avere France, an association for the development of electric mobility, France currently has 58,000 terminals. There will be six more times in 2030 according to Release », with reference to the NGO International Council on Clean Transportation. On a European scale, the Renault Group has around 200,000 public charging stations. By 2030, three million public terminals will be installed in Europe to supply the 44 million electric cars.

“Indispensable condition”

Among politicians, the measure is far from unanimous, and some believe the measure will further elevate cars to the rank of luxury product. “The European Union will turn cars into luxury goods that the middle class will no longer be able to afford”condemned Marine Le Pen in March at a meeting in Saint-Martin-Lacaussade.

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“It may seem far away, but 13 years to completely transform the largest industry in terms of jobs in Europe is, of course, extremely fast”, explains on Franceinfo MEP from Renew (political group of liberals) and chairman of the Committee on the Environment in the European Parliament Pascal Canfin. For him, Wednesday’s vote will be “the most massive voice for the climate”.

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For Climate Action Network, this is a ban ” an essential condition for making low-emission vehicles available to households and speeding up the transition to the sector. “. The vote on this measure is likely to be tight.

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