Europe may ban internal combustion engines

German lawmakers pass resolution calling for emissions-free vehicles only

Published: October 8, 2016, 4:30 PM
Updated: November 21, 2021, 3:23 PM

Charging an Electric Vehicle

German weekly news magazine Der Spiegel is reporting that Germany’s top legislative body has reached an agreement that may ban internal combustion engine vehicles from German roads and perhaps even roads across Europe.

The bipartisan resolution from the Bunderat, Germany’s upper parliament house, calls on the European Union (EU) to pass directives to assure only zero-emissions passenger vehicles are allowed on European roads by 2030. And although there is no guarantee, or even an indication. that the proposal would be adopted by the EU, Forbes magazine points out German regulations often drive EU regulations.

The resolution also calls on regulators to review the taxation and dues levied against motor vehicles in order to stimulate the adoption of emissions-free vehicles. The idea is to create such a tax burden on the production of internal combustion engines that manufacturers would start producing more electric vehicles, and bring them to the mass market more quickly.

There is increasing concern from environmentalist movements that the lavish incentives offered for electric vehicles are not having the desired impact on consumers. Added to that is that the relatively cheap price on diesel, and its economy superiority to comparable gasoline engines. means that the majority of vehicles on European roads are still powered by diesel engines, much to the chagrin of critics of the nitrous-oxide laden diesel exhaust.

If the tax burden were to rise significantly, and given the already shaky ground on which diesel rides due to emissions scandals affecting several brands, it could put an end to diesel fuel usage, at least for passenger vehicle applications.

In a Reuters report, German Greens party lawmaker Oliver Krischer is quoted as saying: “If the Paris agreement to curb climate-warming emissions is to be taken seriously, no new combustion engine cars should be allowed on roads after 2030.”

The move might not be totally unsavoury to automakers since it is widely reported that production of electric vehicles takes about a tenth of the workforce needed to build internal combustion engine vehicles. And since the majority of powertrain production is coming from low-wage countries in Asia, that combined with the premium price of electric vehicles could mean a revenue bonanza for manufacturers.