Italy pleads for ICE-ban exception for its supercars
While the EU still has to agree on a proposed ban on new sales of internal combustion engines (ICE) by 2035, Italy apparently is lobbying behind the scenes at the Commission to get an exception for its supercar manufacturers like Ferrari and Lamborghini.
The argument used is that with annual sales volumes of around 9 100 for Ferrari and 7 400 for Lamborghini, and given the low mileage these cars do on average, the impact on CO2 emissions is marginal, compared to big automakers. Even ACEA’s President and CEO of BMW Oliver Zipse said at IAA Munich that he sees good arguments for considering these exemptions.
Supercars need special technology
In an interview, Roberto Cingolani, Minister for Ecological Transition in the Italian government and former non-executive director at Ferrari, told Bloomberg TV that these supercars would need a new generation of batteries that Italy is to produce itself. “These cars need exceptional technology, and they need batteries for the transition,” Cingolani said.
In July 2021, the EU Commission presented the much anticipated – and feared – ‘Fit for 55’ package of 12 climate laws to make the target of 55% CO2 reduction by 2030 agreed by the member states a reality. So far, the world’s most ambitious plan will ultimately lead to carbon neutrality by 2050 if it survives the fierce discussions that are to follow.
A total ban on ICE from 2035
In that package, a total ban of ICE car sales beyond 2035 is on the table. In March, nine EU member states urged the Commission to set a date for the phasing out, but only the Netherlands actually proposed 2030 as the preferred timing. The others keep their options open with Belgium, Denmark, Austria, Greece, Ireland, Lithuania, Luxembourg, and Malta.
President Macron announced that France would continue to support plug-in hybrid cars just yesterday despite the possible EU ban on cars with an internal combustion engine (ICE). Instead, it pleads for an exception for PHEVs when new ICE vehicles sales will be forbidden in 2035.
Fierce Euro 7 standard
The car industry faces a fierce Euro 7 standard to reduce CO2 emissions further by 55%. It will be forced to add new (expensive) technology that would price the classic internal combustion engine out of the market, especially in small cars, where margins are already flimsy. But also the supercars won’t be able to escape: they will be (fully) electric or have to disappear.
Volkswagen-boss Herbert Diess believes this will make the electric car a better alternative – also for margins – already in 2025. Anyway, the date set for the end of new diesel and gasoline cars to be sold in the EU remains 2035. There will be a clause foreseeing a two-yearly review of the readiness of the car industry, though, that might lead to push that date further ahead.
The ‘Fit for 55’ package and with it the ICE ban are not written in stone yet, as the European Parliament and the Council of Europe of the 27 member states still have to agree with what the Commission has put on the table. And that process could take up to two years.
UK and US to follow
In the UK, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced last year to advance the ban on cars and vans with an internal combustion engine from 2035 to 2030. However, for hybrids, an exception will be made, and the 2035 deadline applies.
In the US, in California, it will no longer be possible to buy new gasoline, diesel, or hybrid cars by 2035, as Governor Gavin Newsom announced in September 2020. So by 2045, every new commercial vehicle there has to be electric too.
Washington State introduced a bill to start the phasing-out of fossil-fueled cars from 2030, five years sooner than California. And now voices are heard in California to advance the phasing out date to 2030 too.