Europe to soften wild pro-electric car regulations
The European Parliament last night voted to soften impending Euro 7 car emissions regulations. “The EU presidency deletes the test conditions and reverts to the WLTP Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure and RDE Real Driving Emission tests as defined in Euro 6e,” an EU statement confirmed.
Revised Euro 7 laws will therefor now be closer to existing Euro 6 regulations for passenger cars. The change is seen as a stay of execution in favour of combustion cars. But is it the death knell for Electric Vehicles? EVs were until recently touted as the solution to future green motoring needs, but they have come under increasing pressure in recent months.
Yesterday’s vote to relax Euro 7 CO2 limits on combustion cars saw 329 Euro MEPs in favour of the proposals versus 230 against, with 41 abstentions. It came as carmakers rallied against draconian original Euro 7 plans. The carmakers warned that it would be near impossible to meet original Euro 7 rules. Which also threatened huge job losses, and even company closures.
New Euro 7 an ICE stay of execution?
The move thus comes as a huge relief for the embattled carmakers. Several have already reported huge financial losses in the face of original Euro 7 laws. Talks will now continue with each EU government before the revised final law is ratified. The new package is also expected to encourage future synthetic and similar fuels for internal combustion engines.
This latest news comes on top of mounting bad news for electric vehicles. Public opinion appears to have tilted against battery cars over recent weeks. Fresh data reveals that more than half of existing EV owners are reverting to combustion engines on buying a new car. Industry CEOs admit that EV demand is unexpectedly slow.
EV sales are down. A growing number of EV projects are already indefinitely delayed. Volkswagen EV orders dropped 50%, they’re sacking 2,000 people and moving other staff back to ICE lines. Ford lost $1.3 billion, or a $36,000 on every EV sold in the last quarter. It has already delayed plans to expand EV and battery production.
Talking batteries, Japanese giant Panasonic slowed EV battery production by 60% at home. It forecasts EV sales down 15% at a time when they were supposed to be exploding. Instead, EVs are themselves exploding and causing deadly airport parking lot, ship, car, racetrack, and other infernos. All induced by EVs bursting onto flames for no reason.
EVs in question, carmakers relieved
That’s all on top of range anxiety, charging challenges, crushing interest rates and extreme EV price premiums. Mercedes-Benz boss Harald Wilhelm had already suggested that some car manufacturers won’t survive the coming bloodbath, should the electric car market implode. Toyota chair Akiyo Toyoda just said, “I told you so!”
And now the EU has done an about turn on its Euro 7 regulations, which were among the prime motivators for electric vehicle growth. The development is already hailed as a successful compromise between carbon reduction and the need to support the auto industry.
“It’s counterproductive to implement environmental policies that harm European industry and citizens” Czech MEP Alexandr Vondra explains. “This compromise serves all parties and steers clear of extreme positions.” EU trade director general Sigrid de Vries added: “Euro 7 will serve Europe in a balance between environmental concerns and industrial viability.”
While Auto has long seen EVs as an alternative, it seemed impossible to us that they could be a real solution to future mobility needs. How the industry now responds to revised Euro 7 regulations, remains to be seen.
Right now, the car of the future appears to have gone back to the drawing board. What emerges from that, may well be far more conventional than what most may have expected. – Michele Lupini