BERLIN (AP) — Germany and the European Union announced on Saturday that they had reached an agreement on the disputed future of cars with combustion engines, making new vehicles with such engines after 2035 climate-neutral. It will be possible to register under the condition that only safe fuel is used. .
European Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans tweeted: “We have reached an agreement with Germany on the future use of e-fuel in cars.”
Germany’s Transport Minister Volker Wissing has tweeted that the road is open for new registrations of vehicles with internal combustion engines that use only climate-neutral fuels after 2035.
“We will secure opportunities for Europe by preserving key options for climate-neutral and affordable mobility,” Wissing wrote.
An initial proposal by European Union member states for a new carbon dioxide emission standard for cars had been postponed amid opposition from Germany. The EU wanted to ban the sale of all new cars with internal combustion engines from 2035.
Germany burns e-fuel, claiming it is carbon neutral and releases no climate-causing emissions into the atmosphere if produced using renewable energy and carbon captured from the atmosphere I had requested a car exemption.
Mr Wissing said specific procedural steps had been agreed and a specific timetable had become binding. “We hope to complete the process by fall 2024,” he added.
Timmermans also said, “We are currently working to adopt CO2 standards for automotive regulations as soon as possible.”
The issue triggered an ideological wedge within the German government between Wishing’s Free Democrats (FDP) and the environmentalist Green Party, which favored a complete ban on internal combustion engines.
Germany’s main opposition, the center-right Bundesbloc, also opposed an EU-wide ban on internal combustion engines, warning it would harm Germany’s valuable auto industry.
Critics say battery-electric technology is better suited to passenger cars, and precious synthetic fuels should only be used when other options, such as aviation, are not viable.
Jan-Christoph Oetjen, the transport policy spokesman for the FDP in the European Parliament, said the deal was a resounding success, reported German news agency dpa.
“So a pointless blanket ban on internal combustion engines is out of the question,” he said.
“We maintain state-of-the-art technology and important work on the continent,” added Oetjen.
Germany’s Environment Minister Steffi Lemke, who is a member of the Green Party, said it was good that an agreement had been reached. Further stalemate would seriously damage both credibility in the European Union’s procedures and Germany’s credibility on European policy, according to the dpa, she said.
Lemke added that it is important for the automotive industry to be clear about its transition to electromobility.
E-fuel “plays a particularly important role in sectors that cannot easily switch to efficient electric motors,” says Lemke.
Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer, head of the CAR Center for Automotive Research in Duisburg, Germany, said the e-fuel permit does not represent a big change for the overall transformation to electric vehicles.
Still, he called the delayed agreement between Germany and the EU “the end of a sad episode”.
“The credibility of the EU is severely undermined,” he added.
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