carros a combustão

The End of Combustion Engines in Europe: Yes or No?

Recent years have brought with them growing environmental concern and a relentless demand for sustainable alternatives in the automotive industry. This has led to talks calling for the end of combustion engines in Europe.

The push to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality in cities is shaping the future of mobility. Simultaneously, sizeable incentives are also being introduced to promote the adoption of electric and low-emission vehicles.

Read this article to find out what the future holds for combustion cars in Europe, as well as the market trends and technological challenges expected.


What are Combustion Engines?

Also known as vehicles with internal combustion engines, these vehicles run on internal combustion engines.

These engines generally burn fuel, such as petrol, inside an internal combustion chamber to generate mechanical energy, which is used to power the vehicle.



Do Electric Cars have Engine Displacement?

No, engine displacement does not take place in electric cars.

Engine displacement is a measure of the total volume of all the cylinders in an internal combustion engine, which is usually expressed in litres (L) or cubic centimetres (cc).

This unit of measurement is used to describe the engine capacity of a combustion vehicle and relates to a vehicle’s performance and engine power.


What is the Difference Between Combustion Cars and Electric Cars?

Combustion cars use engines that burn fossil fuels to generate energy, emitting polluting gases such as CO2.

In contrast, electric vehicles use electricity to power electric motors, eliminating the combustion of fuels. The latter are more efficient and produce zero gas emissions.

In addition, electric cars tend to be quieter and require less maintenance as they have fewer moving parts.



What is the Environmental Impact of Combustion Cars?

Combustion-powered cars pose a serious environmental threat due to their greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution, dependence on finite resources, and adverse impacts on health and ecosystems.

That’s why the automotive transition to electric vehicles and cleaner energy sources is critical to reducing this damage.


Europe and Zero Emission Targets for Cars

To combat climate change, the European Parliament has passed the European Climate Law, which states that the European Union (EU) must reduce at least 55% of its net greenhouse gas emissions. As such, member states have established environmental policies that seek to achieve this goal by 2050.

In addition to measures put in place to reduce emissions produced by sea and air transport, the EU has set targets for road transport, which accounts for a fifth of the EU’s CO2 emissions.

In order for the EU to reduce car emissions by 55% and vans by 50% by 2030, compared to 2021 data, all new cars on the European market must produce zero CO2 emissions, which does not affect cars already on the roads.

However, the end of combustion cars and the transition to greener solutions must be accompanied by sustainable fuel infrastructures. For this reason, MEPs are calling for electric car charging stations every 60 km along major European roads by 2026. In addition, they’re requesting hydrogen refuelling stations every 100 km by 2028.


The European Parliament and the End of Combustion Engines: What’s the Situation in 2023?

The EU decision to ban combustion engines in Europe by 2035 has seen both progress and setbacks.

In October 2022, the EU Parliament and Member States reached an agreement on the final rules for the future of petrol and diesel cars, which was approved in February 2023. However, ratification of the text was delayed in March.

Despite what seemed to be an impasse, the legislation came into force in April 2023.

Although there is consensus among most member states, the German, Italian, Polish, and Bulgarian governments have expressed some concerns, especially with regard to employment and European industry.

All combustion engines, including hybrid vehicles will be prohibited from being marketed. However, fossil fuel cars will be allowed to stay on the roads until they reach the end of their useful life.

That is, Europeans will not be able to purchase mild hybrid vehicles (MHEV), conventional hybrids (without a rechargeable battery, HEV) or plug-in hybrids (PHEV).

As such, only electric vehicles will be able to be marketed in Europe, whether battery (BEV) or hydrogen fuel cell (FCEV) powered.



Sales Statistics of Combustion Cars Vs. Electric Cars in Europe

According to the ACEA (European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association), electric vehicles hold a market share of 15.1% compared to 13.4% held by diesel vehicles.

According to the information available, in the first half of 2023 large numbers of sales of electric cars were recorded in Spain, Italy, France, and Germany.

This trend can also be seen in Portugal, where sales of electric vehicles have already surpassed those of diesel vehicles.


What does the Future hold for Combustion Cars?

With these measures, no new petrol-powered or diesel cars will be able to be produced. However, fossil fuel cars will be allowed to stay on the roads until they reach the end of their useful life.

During this period, it will be possible to sell and buy used combustion-powered cars. However, the cost of fuel, maintenance, and other ownership costs may increase.


What are the EU-wide Incentives for Electric Vehicles?

To make the end of combustion cars in Europe possible, EU member states have created a series of incentives to support the automotive transition.

Therefore, all individuals who purchase a 100% electric car in 2023 will be able to apply for a grant worth € 4,000, which will be awarded to a maximum of 1,300 light passenger vehicles per year. To be eligible for the incentive, applicants must purchase a new car worth less than € 62,500, including VAT and other expenses.

To be in with a chance of getting this funding, apply by the 30th of November 2023, or before the total amount available has been allocated.

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