This controversial decision would hasten the decline of combustion engines on the European market by making electric cars almost mandatory, be they hybrid, battery or hydrogen fuel cell.
If the European Parliament approves this legislation next month, this will prompt fierce debate between the 28 member states. Seventeen countries, including France, would be ready to back a 40% target, as indicated to Reuters by a European Parliament spokesperson.
But others such as Germany, the leading European manufacturer of motorised vehicles, are not in favour and are demanding to stick to the 30% as proposed by the European Commission. A mere 20% reduction for the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA).
“Air pollution causes 500,000 early deaths in Europe every year. If things don’t change, we’re heading for disaster. In order to meet the targets of the COP21, a 70% reduction would be needed by 2030”, explains the French Environment Committee MEP Karima Delli, Chair of the Transport Commission.
The CEO of Volkswagen, Mathias Müller, is critical of any such headlong rush, and believes that there is still a future for the diesel engine. Thanks to efficiency gains, diesel will have a lesser impact than electric if we analyse the vehicle’s impact across its entire lifecycle. The electric car is actually more polluting than its combustion counterpart in terms of its production, which requires a number of mining resources. In some countries such as Poland or China, where electricity comes predominantly from coal, the electric car is in fact more polluting.