In the dispute over the end of new cars with combustion engines, Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) has submitted a proposal for a solution to the EU Commission. As can be seen from a letter from the minister’s office to the cabinet of Vice-Commissioner Frans Timmermans, Wissing is pushing for a path that does not require the approval of the European Parliament and the EU states.

At the same time, he calls for “short-term legally binding steps,” as the letter from Wednesday says, which is available to the German Press Agency in Brussels. Specifically, Wissing proposes a so-called delegated act that would supplement the currently blocked combustion engine agreement. The compromise reached would therefore not have to be changed. The European Commission can pass such a legal act, after which Parliament and EU states have two months to raise objections.

Negotiators from the European Parliament and the EU states had actually already agreed in autumn that only emission-free new cars may be registered in the EU from 2035. A confirmation by the EU states that was scheduled for last week was canceled due to additional demands from Germany. In particular, the FDP is urging that new cars with combustion engines that use artificial fuels produced with green electricity, so-called e-fuels, may still be registered after 2035.

Wissing’s goal: a new vehicle category

The approach of the Wissing-Haus now envisages creating the possibility for a new vehicle category only for e-fuels within the framework of the existing Euro 6 emissions standard. When the law phasing out combustion engines comes into force, a delegated act should allow these “e-fuels only” vehicles to be offset against the fleet target values.

The so-called fleet limits are specifications for manufacturers as to how many greenhouse gases newly built cars are allowed to emit during operation. It is actually planned that this value should drop to zero in 2035, which de facto means the end of new combustion engines. However, there are exceptions, for example for special vehicles such as emergency vehicles or wheelchair-accessible cars.

Finally, “in a suitable legal framework”, a definition for completely CO2-neutral fuels should be created, according to the letter. The Ministry is asking the Commission to “develop an ambitious and binding schedule”.