Engine standoff deepens as Brussels refuses to reopen green car deal
BRUSSELS — The European Commission will only go so far to please Germany and Italy in their battle to save the combustion engine from the clutches of an EU ban.
The Commission has rebuffed the German government’s ask to reopen draft legislation mandating a zero emission sales-only policy for cars and vans from 2035 — agreed by the Parliament and EU countries last year — to make room for synthetic e-fuels.
Instead, it agreed to Berlin’s request to make tweaks to separate, existing legislation known as Euro 6 setting out a classification for vehicles running exclusively “carbon neutral fuels” such as e-fuels, according to a draft proposal sent by the Commission to the German government and obtained by POLITICO.
However, simply expanding the Euro 6 legislation does not provide a way of actually selling cars running on e-fuels, or other such renewable fuels, after 2035 since they still emit CO2 from the tailpipe.
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The Commission has ruled out reopening the draft legislation banning sales of polluting cars past 2035, according to a Commission official who spoke on the condition of anonymity as they are not authorized to speak on the record.
‘The Commission will stand by the agreement in trilogue,” the official said, referring to the earlier agreement between EU institutions on the 100 percent CO2 emissions reduction target by 2035.
The Commission’s position is likely to be met with pushback from the German government, which could lead to a widening rift over the car emissions legislation just days ahead of a EU leaders’ summit starting Thursday.
Berlin made the requests to change both Euro 6 and the CO2 standards legislation in a letter to the Commission sent earlier this week, as reported by POLITICO.
What’s more, the Italian government said in its own letter to the Commission sent Tuesday that it wanted the loophole expanded to allow “all renewable fuels (namely renewable liquid and gaseous fuels, including biofuels and e-fuels),” rather than just including a workaround for e-fuels as requested by the Germans.
Instead, the Commission’s offer sets out a classification for vehicles running only on carbon-neutral fuels in the Euro 6 legislation through the installation of monitors that would assess what kind of fuel is being used in the tank.
“For vehicles running exclusively on carbon neutral fuels conformity of production shall include a test of the functioning of the fuelling monitor and fuelling inducement system,” the Commission draft proposal states, referring to the proposed changes to the Euro 6 emissions legislation.
A spokesperson for Germany’s transport ministry said the government is assessing the Commission’s proposal and is in favor of a quick resolution in the dispute, but added that the deal should be “resilient and binding.”