Combustion off with a gap: EU energy ministers pass law
Dhe ban on combustion engines has been decided. The energy ministers of the member states have approved the new EU rules for CO2-Emission of new cars accepted without discussion on Tuesday. Only Poland voted against. Italy, Bulgaria and Romania abstained. That was not enough to prevent the necessary majority. The federal government withdrew its abstention, with which it had blocked the passage for weeks, at the weekend. Climate Protection Commissioner Frans Timmermans had previously promised to present concrete proposals in the coming months on how at least combustion engines that can only be driven with climate-neutral synthetic fuels, so-called e-fuels, can be approved after the key year 2035. Minister of Transport did Volker Wissing (FDP) made it a condition for him to give up his opposition to the law.
The EU Commission presented the ministers with a statement on Tuesday in which they explained the planned course of action. First, she wants – “immediately after the acceptance” of the CO2-Requirements for cars – present a legal act that creates a new type of vehicle that can be proven to be fueled exclusively with e-fuels in the long term. As this is an Implementing Act, European Parliament and the Council of Ministers can hardly stop it. However, the new vehicle type alone does not mean the end of the combustion engine. Because after the adoption of the CO2-Rules for cars means that new cars from 2035 will not have any CO2 allowed to emit more. But cars fueled with e-fuels do.
Second legal act in autumn
The Commission therefore also intends to present a second legal act in the autumn to reduce the CO2-Rules still open for these cars. The hurdles for the adoption of this delegated act are higher. The EU Parliament and states can block it. Parliament needs an absolute majority for this, and the Council of Ministers needs a majority of 55 percent of the states and 65 percent of the EU population. In addition, there are doubts that the CO2-Rules for cars provide a sufficient legal basis for such a delegated act. In an emergency, the Commission therefore intends to propose a normal law to combustion engine to create a future. However, the EU institutions would then have to accept this with a majority.
The Greens and the Union criticized the Timmermans and Wissing negotiated compromise. “The Commission does not have the right to change laws on its own,” said MEP Michael Bloss (Greens). “If she tries to do that, we will take action as a parliament.” The CDU politician Jens Gieseke accused Wissing of an “ineffective show for the public”. It remains unclear to which vehicles the Commission’s proposals should apply. However, any proposal for more openness to technology can count on the full support of the European Christian Democrats.
Uniform rules for charging stations
There is now clarity in another EU law that is central to electromobility. On Tuesday night, negotiators from the EU Parliament and member states agreed on new specifications for the expansion of the charging infrastructure. By 2025, these should ensure a supply of fast charging stations at a distance of 60 kilometers on important motorways and federal roads. This should apply to other important roads five years later. Member States are also given more time for trucks and buses. Here, by 2030, there must be a quick charging station every 60 kilometers on the main traffic routes and every 100 kilometers on other important roads.
The prices must be communicated clearly and uniformly at the charging and filling stations – usually per kilowatt hour. It must also be possible to pay with cash cards at all fast-charging stations. “The chicken-egg problem in e-mobility will finally be solved,” said MP Anna Deparnay-Grunenberg (Greens). Nobody has to be afraid of getting stranded anymore. The association of the European automotive industry (Acea), on the other hand, warned that there would remain a significant supply gap.