EU Moves Closer to Scrapping ICE Ban

The European Union has taken a step closer to scrapping the blanket ban on ICE powertrains for new vehicles it had planned to take effect after 2035.

According to Reuters news agency the European Commission has drafted a plan to allow new ICE vehicles after the deadline as long as they are run on climate neutral fuels. The move has been forced by Germany’s protest that ICE using these fuels should not be penalized by a blanket ban ignoring the technology’s climate friendly capabilities.

The draft proposal suggests creating a new type of vehicle category in the EU for cars that can only operate on carbon neutral fuels. Such vehicles would have to use technology that would prevent them from driving if other fuels are used.

Paving the way to rescuing ICE technology is the possible large-scale production of e-fuels. These are made by synthesizing captured CO2 emissions and hydrogen produced using CO2-free electricity. Porsche has been behind the e-fuel pilot program at ‘Haru Oni’ plant in Punta Arenas, Chile, in a bid to explore whether this can be produced at scale.

Two sources told Reuters that the Commission’s condition that cars must be able to recognize CO2-neutral fuels from fossil fuels was problematic for Germany because it would largely force automakers to develop new engines. German Transport Minister Volker Wissing did not want to reject the Commission’s proposal but rather make some improvements to it. The parties are aiming to secure an agreement at this week’s EU summit.

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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