EU legislators are preparing to ban sales of petrol and diesel powered vehicles by 2035 as it toughens emissions laws.
A proposal to slash 60% cut in emissions at current levels by 2030 due to be announced in three weeks will precede the total block and it comes as Jaguar says it will be moving future EVs up-market to match Porsche and Bentley.
CLEPA said in a statement, such stringent measures would—unless there is a role for renewable fuels acknowledged in the CO2 law—indeed be a de facto ban on combustion engine technology. It leaves vehicle manufacturers no other choice than going electric, or face huge fines.
For consumers and businesses, this means that, if they need a new vehicle in 2036, there won’t be a choice. The car will have an electric engine, regardless of whether it fits mobility needs, is affordable, or whether there is the green energy and the infrastructure to charge it or not. That is a lot of ‘ifs’.
Automotive suppliers are not the only ones scratching their heads about the consequences. If recent public appearances are indicative, Green Deal Commissioner Timmermans is worried about the impact on those that rely on affordable mobility to commute, or to make a living as a retailer or small workshop.
Other Commissioners have questions too. How to compensate for rising fuel and energy prices? How to keep mobility inclusive and accessible for all? How to avoid greater divergences between EU countries in the west and the east, and between more and less affluent regions within Member states?
The impact on workers in the automotive sector will be significant as well. Trade union umbrella organisation IndustriAll has good reason to argue for a social transition framework.
The coal transition, generally recognised as dramatic, affects 0.015% of European jobs, according to the trade unions institute ETUI. Automotive employment amounts to 6%. Of the 3.9 million directly employed by vehicle manufacturers and suppliers, close to 1 million people have a job directly linked to the production of vehicle powertrain technology.
The total number of employees requiring re- and upskilling is even higher, because of the parallel transformation towards smart mobility (connected and automated driving) and the increasing automation of the production. The magnitude of the challenge ahead only seems to be dawning.
To inform the discussion, CLEPA will launch the Automotive Employment Footprint Portal this week: an online repository of data on automotive employment and manufacturing, revealing both risks and opportunities. A successful transition starts with knowing the stakes.