It makes sense for niche automakers to be allowed more breathing space in reaching CO2 goals.
Late last month, the European Union reached an agreement on the 2035 combustion ban. There was good news for both environmentalists and engine lovers, as the new agreement confirms the EU's goals for an electric future while also making allowance for the introduction of synthetic fuels. As part of this agreement, all cars' emissions must be 100% CO2 free by 2035, but for small-volume automakers like McLaren and Ferrari, the challenges are greater than for mainstream automakers. Fortunately, Automotive News Europe reports that automakers that sell fewer than 10,000 cars or 22,000 vans in Europe will have more time to reduce emissions, with an exemption agreement now extended to 2035. Originally, these small-scale automakers would have had to meet tougher emissions limits by 2029.
This news is seen as a concession to Italy after the Mediterranean country had been one of the most vocal of five nations arguing for an extension of the zero-emissions deadline. "As far as niche producers are concerned, the exemption is up to the end of 2035," said Agnes Pannier-Runacher, the energy transition minister in France.
The extension of the derogation is also seen as a win for the European Small Volume Car Manufacturers Alliance (ESCA), which represents McLaren, Aston Martin, Pagani, Bugatti, Ineos, Rimac, and Koenigsegg. This alliance had argued that special rules should be applied to supercar manufacturers because the life cycle of supercars is longer, these supercars have a limited overall impact on emissions, and the brands have limited resources compared to the likes of Volkswagen and Toyota, for example.
Speaking with Automotive News Europe, global automotive analyst at investment bank Jefferies, Phillippe Houchois, said, "Putting a large battery into a supercar has a negative impact on manufacturing emissions because they get driven so little [to offset the extra emissions in producing the battery]." In other words, cars like the Ferrari 296 GTB are not doing much more to save the environment than Ferraris without hybrid assistance. Essentially, this indicates that forcing supercar manufacturers to go all-electric immediately would be more harmful than allowing them to find a cleaner route over a greater time period. However, these automakers will need to get their act together fast. One of the proposed saviors of the engine, synthetic fuel, must be proven to be effective by 2026, or EVs will be the only way forward.