While the ban on the sale of thermal cars from 2023 must be ratified on a European scale in the days to come, Germany has threatened to abstain. The country has set conditions to give its approval: put in place EU commitments in favor of synthetic fuels.
As you may know, an agreement was reached in October 2022 concerning the ban on the sale of thermal cars in Europe. Voted by the negotiators of the various member countries and by the European Parliament, this text provides in particular for a total ban on new cars and vans equipped with combustion engines from 2035.
The vote is postponed until further notice
While this measure must precisely be ratified at the beginning of the week by the 27 at a meeting in Brussels, Germany has just reshuffled the cards. In effect, Berlin has decided to exercise its right of veto, and threatens to abstain during the vote. What significantly delay the entry into force of the text.
And yes, to pass, the text must obtain a qualified majority vote of the 27, ie a vote in favor of more than 55% of the States which represent at least 65% of the population of the EU. Fact, the German government knows full well that its voice is essential for the adoption of the measure.
Germany wants synthetic fuel commitments
Faced with this reversal of the situation, the ambassadors of the member countries of the EU decided “to defer the decision to a later meeting”. But precisely, why did Germany play this card? It demands from the European Commission additional commitments in favor of synthetic fuels.
“We have always made it clear that the European Commission must present a proposal on how synthetic fuels could be used in combustion engines after 2035. What is missing now is the fulfillment of this commitment”, said German Transport Minister Volker Wissing.
Also read: Electric cars – companies may need to convert their fleets well before 2035
Synthetic fuels, also called e-fuel, offer an alternative to create fuel from hydrogen and CO2 captured in the air. These two elements are then transformed into gas (in particular methanol), before being converted into fuel.
Although e-fuels have a very low carbon footprint in manufacturing, they are still far from achieving consensus, particularly in the automotive industry. The reason ? Production still too limitedmarginal volumes and prices per gallon far from being adapted to the general public (nearly 40 dollars, or 10 € per liter of unleaded, for example).