The European Union is one step closer to banning sales of new gas-powered cars. The European Parliament has voted in favor of a Council agreement requiring that all new passenger cars and vans produce zero emissions by 2035. The move also revises some 2030 targets. Officials will now require that at least 25 percent of car sales (and 17 percent of vans) are zero-emissions models if a company wants to qualify for incentives between 2025 and 2029. The incentive will go away in 2030.
The new rules task the European Commission with keeping an eye on real-world achievements. It will have until 2025 to develop a way to report data on the emissions of the “full life-cycle” of cars sold in the EU, and will track the gap between emission limits and real consumption data starting in 2026. From the end of 2025, the Commission will publish updates every two years to gauge progress toward zero-emissions transportation.
The Council still has to endorse the text before it can be published in the EU Official Journal and take effect. The measure loosens the pre-2035 transition rules for niche automakers that produce fewer than 10,000 new cars or 22,000 new vans per year, and those making fewer than 1,000 cars per year will still be exempt.
That final approval is largely a formality, however, and the EU’s years-long move toward a gas car sales ban has already had its intended effect. Manufacturers like GM, Stellantis, Volvo and VW already plan to stop all combustion engine car sales in the region (and sometimes worldwide) by 2035 or earlier, while marques like Renault have committed to electrifying most of their lineup as soon as 2025. The shift is well underway — it’s just a question of which companies finish first.
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