Germany has been blocked for weeks – now an agreement is imminent: the EU countries are voting on the fact that from 2035 only zero-emission cars should be newly registered.
For climate-friendly mobility, only emission-free cars should be newly registered from 2035. The EU states will most likely decide on Tuesday in Brussels. The decision should have been made weeks ago, but was blocked by Germany. Because the federal government had additional demands. The FDP in particular had campaigned for so-called e-fuels. In theory, it should still be possible to register cars with combustion engines after 2035.
E-fuels can be produced using renewable electricity from water and carbon dioxide extracted from the air. Unlike petrol or diesel, they do not release any additional climate-damaging gases. Critics complain, among other things, that they are needed more urgently in shipping and aviation.
It is completely open whether combustion engines will be approved in any relevant number after 2035. Car expert Ferdinand Dudenhöffer cites the high cost of producing the fuel and the “creepy energy balance” as arguments against such drives – the production process consumes a great deal of electricity.
Separate category for cars powered by e-fuels
The actions of the federal government caused many EU partners to shake their heads. Germany had actually already agreed to a compromise, but withdrew its approval at the last minute. An extremely rare procedure at EU level, which had alienated many. In this context, Germany was not only compared once with Hungary under Viktor Orban.
In addition to the damage to Germany’s image, it is also disputed whether the project can be implemented at all as currently planned. A separate category is to be created for cars that can only be operated with e-fuels. Technical solutions for this would have to come from the automotive industry. The way engines that use e-fuels work is basically no different from normal petrol or diesel engines.
Legally, e-fuel cars are also to be included in the EU regulations by a so-called delegated act. These are issued by the EU Commission, but the EU Parliament and EU states can object for two months. The SPD member of parliament and professor of European law René Repasi has already expressed doubts on Twitter as to whether the project will succeed as planned. Green politicians from the European Parliament had also announced that they wanted to examine the compromise carefully.