Car manufacturing group Stellantis (a fusion between FCA and PSA) has announced that it will withdraw from the European manufacturers association (ACEA) before the end of the year. The group and its relentless boss Carlos Tavares are not happy with the way ACEA has failed to influence the EU decision on banning all ICE cars by 2035.
The Stellantis decision has been quite inadvertently released in a press message about the creation of ‘a forum on the liberty of movement’, starting in 2023 as an annual gathering of experts, including mobility and technology providers, university experts, politicians, and scientists.
Although ACEA has led fierce opposition against the EU Commission proposal, the EU Parliament has approved the ban as of 2035. Especially the French government, but also other South-European EU members, were against the banning of all ICE cars from 2035 onward. However, under the influence of the French car industry, the Minister of Economy, Bruno Le Maire, pleaded to accept at least the sales of new hybrid cars until 2040.
In the margin of the announced forum initiative, Stellantis thus announced its withdrawal from ACEA. The Stellantis release says that it wants to transform lobbying into “a more direct interaction with the citizens and the stakeholders”. In addition, Carlos Tavares wants to develop “an efficient 360° approach, global and inclusive, concerning all those wanting to contribute to creating a sustainable mobility”.
Stellantis is steering on an accelerated pace toward electrification, it wants to sell 100% of electrified cars by 2030, but it still has quite a lot of (plug-in) hybrid cars in its portfolio or under development. Apparently, that’s where there is a hiccup.
The vote of the European Parliament for the total ban of ICE cars by 2035 has surely accelerated things. Only fully electrified or hydrogen-driven vehicles will be allowed to be sold as of 2035. The critics of the proposal point to the fact that ICE cars produce 20% of their total CO2 emissions during the production of the car and 80% during its use. Full electric vehicles see 60% of total CO2 emissions coming from production and only 40% out of daily use.
The critics point out that the CO2 emitted during production is not considered. They forget to admit that the total amount of CO2, from well to wheel, as the saying goes, is still primarily in favor of the electric car, according to almost all independent studies. The period after which an electric vehicle becomes greener is determined mainly by the electricity production (totally green or partly grey).
The proposal of the EU Commission still has to be approved by the 27 member states, but as the Parliament has already voted for it, this is usually a formality. The northern member states are pushing hardest to get the bill voted, and the southern and eastern member states (with more traditional car manufacturing industries) are dragging their feet.
Germany, the most influential car manufacturing state, hesitates between the two sides in a not-so-comfortable straddle. Meanwhile, the ‘southerners’ are putting their hope on a revision option clause that the states could add. The clause could enter into action in 2028 and stipulate that temporary measures could be taken when the energy transition is becoming too penalizing.