Major car manufacturers and industry coalition appeal to the EU to ensure all new cars and vans are zero emissions from 2035 

A broad cross-industry coalition, including Ford of Europe and Volvo Cars, is appealing to the EU to ensure all new cars and vans in Europe are zero-emission from 2035 and to establish mandatory charging infrastructure targets.

They say the deadline for new fossil fuel engines is needed to ensure the last cars and vans powered by internal combustion engines are off the road by 2050 – when Europe is required to reach net-zero emissions. The vehicle manufacturers, which sold around 800,000 cars in Europe last year, appealed to EU lawmakers in a joint letter signed by 26 other companies.

Fifteen car brands have voluntarily pledged only to sell electric cars in Europe in the next decade. The signatories say it’s down to EU decision-makers to mirror this infirm vehicle regulation to provide planning certainty for the industry and infrastructure providers and customers in the transition to electric vehicles. The letter is addressed to MEPs and EU governments as they decide on new clean car rules, including a proposal by the EU Commission that only zero-emission new cars and vans – and not hybrids – can be sold EU-wide from 2035. The signatories explicitly support this EU Commission proposal.

Stuart Rowley, Chair of Ford Europe, said: ‘At Ford in Europe, we believe that freedom of movement goes hand-in-hand with caring for our planet and each other. We are targeting all Ford vehicles to be zero-emission by 2035 in line with this call, the COP26 RouteZero initiative and our Paris Climate commitment. EU policymakers must also establish mandatory national targets for a seamless electric charging infrastructure that lives up to the growing demand for electric vehicles. It will empower European consumers and businesses to take full advantage of living in a digital world.’

Electric vehicles, which already account for 10 per cent of cars sold across the EU, are a readily available solution to climate emissions and dangerous air pollution. Cars and vans are responsible for 15% of all CO2 emissions. They are also the single largest source of nitrogen dioxide pollution, which the European Environment Agency estimates causes over 40,000 premature deaths in Europe every year.

Combustion engine cars are also responsible for about a third of all oil imports into Europe. Switching to fossil-free road transport would enhance the continent’s energy security and cut the billions of euros it sends abroad for oil every year.

In June, the European Parliament and EU governments will decide their position on the 2035 zero-emissions vehicles target. Following negotiations, the final law is expected to be adopted in autumn.