The European decision to end sales of combustion vehicles by 2035 is confirmed

The European Parliament’s decision to end the sales of new, carbon-emitting combustion vehicles by 2035 has been confirmed. 


Back at the end of May, the European Parliament voted to end the sales of new combustion vehicles by 2035, and that decision has now been confirmed. 

The confirmation was required because of an attempt by some countries to push forward an amendment to the legislation that would delay the end of combustion sales to 2040 in favour of a more gradual approach. 

Italy was included in those who wished for the delay to 2040 instead of 2035, as it looked to protect its major manufacturers such as Ferrari.

However, that amendment has been rejected by European lawmakers, who instead are pushing on with the 2035 end date for the sales of carbon-emitting vehicles. 

On the other hand, partly in consideration of the lack of infrastructure yet in place for electric vehicles, countries such as Germany have asked for exceptions to be granted for internal combustion engines that run on synthetic - not fossil - fuels. These synthetic fuels would also be zero-emission, and could also be used in older vehicles with necessary modifications made to the engine to accommodate the new fuel. 

By 2026, Formula One is expected to be using fully synthetic fuels, meaning the cars themselves would not produce emissions while on-track. Similarly, MotoGP is planning to race with fuels which are 40%-synthetic by 2024, and fully synthetic by 2027 in its own efforts to be carbon-neutral. 

For racing, the possibility is certainly there for synthetic fuels, but whether they would be a practical solution for widespread use in production and commercial vehicles is a question which requires more development of the technology to be able to answer. 

For commercial vehicles especially, where travel distances can be too long for electric vehicles, synthetics are an appealing option. However, if regulations do not permit their use then their development will fail, and they will become lost. 

With that in mind, it will be important to see the response of the European lawmakers to the request for synthetics by Germany.

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