March 2. 2024. 3:25

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Czechia welcomes EU-Germany e-fuel deal resolving combustion row


The agreement reached between Germany and the European Commission that would leave space for e-fuels in the EU’s plans to phase out combustion engines from 2035 is a significant success, according to Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala (ODS, ECR).

After some EU ministers blocked the final vote on the updated CO2 emission standards for cars and vans, the German government and the Commission agreed to a compromise that allows newly registered combustion cars to be registered even after 2035, provided they can be filled only with climate-neutral synthetic fuels, so-called e-fuels, it was announced Saturday on Twitter.

“I welcome the fact that the EU has managed to reach an agreement on binding conditions for synthetic fuels for passenger car engines. This means that new combustion engines will be able to be sold after 2035,” Fiala wrote to the Czech News Agency.

The proposed law, which regulates emissions of new cars at the tailpipe, effectively bans the registration of new combustion cars from 2035, even if they run only on synthetic fuels that are carbon neutral over the full lifecycle.

However, to allow such “climate-neutral” cars to be registered after that date, the Commission committed to creating a new category of vehicles in an implementing regulation, and will then present a so-called delegated act to define how those vehicles can contribute to climate neutrality.

While this approach was championed by Germany’s liberal party FDP to keep the door open for a future of the internal combustion engine, EU Climate Chief Frans Timmermans previously said he does not see any role for e-fuels in road transport.

For the Czech government, the agreement now means that all the efforts can now be shifted to another emissions-related legislation – the Euro 7 standard.

“This (agreement on e-fuels) will also give us better starting conditions for negotiations on the proposed Euro 7 standard,” Fiala said.

Czechia is among the countries that strongly oppose the Commission’s proposed Euro 7 standards. Together with other like-minded countries, Czechia wants to ease the Euro 7 standards and postpone the legislation’s entry into force, which is now scheduled for July 2025.

Proposed standards should limit nitrogen oxides and particulate matter emitted into the air from cards, and should apply to car exhausts, brakes and tyres.

According to the Czech car industry, it makes no sense to force car makers to modernise current combustion engine cars and invest in technologies linked to Euro 7 applications, as they have to focus on electrification and introducing zero-emission cars only by 2035.

In Germany, the car industry welcomed the agreement.

“Electric mobility remains the central technology for achieving the climate targets in transport,” Hildegard Müller, head of Germany’s automotive industry association VDA said in a statement.

“E-fuels, however, represent an important extension of the options,” she said.

(Aneta Zachová, Jonathan Packroff | EURACTIV.cz)