Automotive fuels will change dramatically

2018-08-23 13:53

The European Commission has drawn up a plan to allow car companies to sell new cars with internal combustion engines after 2035, but only if they run on climate-neutral synthetic fuels, foreign media reported. The move comes as the EU resolves differences with Germany over phasing out internal combustion engine cars.

The draft, seen by foreign media on March 21, proposes creating a new category of vehicles within EU countries for those that can only run on carbon-neutral fuels. Such a vehicle would have to use the relevant technology and would not be able to drive if it ran on other fuels, the draft said.

The proposal would likely give auto makers an opportunity to keep selling internal-combustion cars after 2035. Previous plans had called for a ban on the sale of all vehicles that emitted carbon dioxide after 2035.

The European Parliament, the European Commission and EU member states agreed to the law last year after months of negotiations. Earlier this month, however, Germany's transport ministry abruptly announced its opposition to the plan. Germany's central demand is that the EU should allow the sale of new cars using synthetic fuels after 2035. The ministry said on March 21 that it was in contact with the European Commission to try to reach a resolution to the issue.

The EU's condition that cars must be able to identify synthetic and ordinary fossil fuels is problematic for Germany because it would largely force car companies to develop new engines, two of the sources said.

Sources said Volker Wissing, Germany's transport minister, did not want to reject the commission's proposal entirely but wanted to make some improvements to its plan. The two sides aim to reach an agreement before an EU summit on March 23.

A spokesman for the Commission declined to comment on the draft document but referred to the EU's climate policy chief, Frans Timmermans, who said last week that any solution would have to be in line with the 2035 law agreed last year to phase out combustion engines. "Talks are ongoing between the Commission and the German authorities," the spokesman said.

An EU official told the press on March 20 that the EU proposal on synthetic fuel vehicles would only come after the final adoption of the internal combustion engine phase-out law.