The German Finance Minister Christian Lindner has said that a ban on the production and sale of ICE cars that run on fossil fuels would be wrong, and that there will still be niches for combustion engines in the future. He was speaking at a BDI event (Federation of German Industries), and his surprise declaration is in response to the EU’s target to cut all tailpipe emissions from new cars by 2035, which will effectively mean a ban on cars with a conventional combustion engine.
In the speech, Lindner announced that Germany - one of the world’s major car producers and currently also Europe’s largest market for electric cars - will not agree to the new legislation, but will continue to work to improve sustainability.
Although many EU countries are set to accept the new legislation, there has also been some strong opposition to the ban expressed by high-profile members of the French, Czech and Italian governments. Officials are concerned about the economic damage a fully-fledged ban could cause as the deadline looms.
The UK is also set to impose its own ban on the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles in 2030, and a subsequent ban on the sale of hybrid petrol and diesel vehicles in 2035. If the EU and UK ban on the sale of ICE vehicles is to go ahead as planned, the worldwide market for petrol and diesel cars after 2035 will be much smaller than it is now.
Most of the major German automakers have already committed to converting most of their cars to electric power or abolishing combustion-engined models completely within the coming decade. BMW, however, has stated that it doesn’t plan on completely discontinuing its development of combustion engines anytime soon, although it has greatly broadened its lineup of hybrid and electric cars in recent years.
It’s yet to be seen whether Germany’s resistance to the ban on the sale of ICE vehicles will spark a chain reaction from other European nations large enough to stop it, and to what extent German automakers will continue to produce vehicles that run on petrol and diesel post-2035. Could Germany become a mecca for petrolheads and diesel enthusiasts alike? We’ll find out in the coming months as other EU nations give their verdicts on the planned 2035 ban.