After months of debate and intense lobbying, MEPs voted to stop the sale of (new) petrol, diesel and hybrid cars in 2035. In fact, only electric cars can be sold, except the second-hand market.
Fuel is still an option
Petrol and diesel vehicles will still be able to drive in the EU after 2035. The law only applies to the sale of new vehicles.
Europe will be the first major market to shift ahead of China and the US, but Norway has already set a deadline for 2025 and Israel for 2030.
Hybrids and electricity are taking over
Due to European standards, public subsidies and the growing supply of hybrids and electricity, petrol cars are already declining. This has mainly benefited mild hybrids (petrol and diesel), which represented a quarter of European sales in the first quarter of 2022.
Plug-in hybrids accounted for 8.9% of the market, and electrical 10% (+ 53.4% over a year). Pretty advanced at the moment, they are more and more numerous on especially Dutch, Swedish or German roads. But they are far from zero emissions, and their emissions are even comparable or worse than a gasoline car if their owner does not recharge them.
A majority of Europeans now believe their next car will be hybrid or electric, according to a study by the European Investment Bank.
There is still a big question: “What makes a household switch to two electric vehicles?”, Launches Eric Kirstetter from the Roland Berger company. “People are likely to cling to an incinerator for fear of weekend or holiday trips.”
The car, a luxury product?
The prices of electric cars, which are now much higher than the prices of internal combustion engines, can fall quite quickly as they are mass-produced and the price of batteries is falling.
The Stellantis group (Peugeot, Fiat, etc.) estimated in early 2022 that parity could be reached between 2025 and 2030, but the prices of many materials have exploded since then.
“Electricity will remain structurally quite expensive for a while. We are moving towards a market that is increasingly targeting people who have more resources,” warns Eric Kirstetter.
In the used market, which worries most motorists, electric models are also starting to multiply.
On the other hand, the price of thermobiles should increase with increasing public fines. Thermals can then experience an unexpected effect on the second-hand market, according to Mr Kirstetter.
The industry needs to change
France, Germany, Spain, Italy … In each of these countries, the car industry accounts for a significant proportion of industrial jobs.
However, the manufacture of electric vehicles that require less labor than thermal ones, the energy conversion can destroy many jobs despite the establishment of battery factories. In France, for example, the switch to electric can cause the loss of 65,000 jobs out of the 200,000 in the sector, according to the car platform (PFA).
This transition is also an “unprecedented opportunity” for start-ups such as Tesla and for Chinese manufacturers, supported by their government and by an expanding local market, emphasizes Felipe Muoz from the Jato cabinet.
“Electric vehicles powered by low-carbon electricity offer the main potential for decarbonisation of land transport in life-cycle analysis,” that is, including including the manufacture of batteries, stresses the UN (IPCC) climate experts.
Without exhaust gas, the electric car does not pollute the air in the city centers either. But it is not “green” for all that, because it is necessary to produce the electricity that animates it, which is done with coal-fired power plants in certain countries.
As for the manufacture of batteries, its main components come from mining in countries with often non-existent or incomplete social rules.
Extraction and processing of them creates new strategic dependencies, e.g. of China, and recycling them remains expensive.