A few concessions have been made, though.
The European Union is moving ahead with plans that will effectively see the demise of the ICE-powered car on the continent. As per Bloomberg, the sale of new combustion-engined motor vehicles will be prohibited from 2035 onwards, with manufacturers expected to sell only zero-emission vehicles by then.
This will force consumers to switch over to electric vehicles, as new ICE vehicles will no longer be eligible for registration in the European Union. "It's the start of a big transition of the European Union," said Jan Huitema, a Dutch politician and European Parliament member.
But to make things more difficult, automakers are expected to drastically reduce pollutants. From 2030, CO2 emissions for new cars will have to be cut by 55%.
For die-hard gearheads, there's a small crumb of comfort. Niche companies, such as Lamborghini and Ferrari, will receive an additional year to meet emissions targets. More importantly, these boutique brands - that produce fewer than 10,000 vehicles per annum - will also be permitted to sell combustion-engined cars until the end of 2035. This means supercars such as the Lamborghini Huracan Evo (or its successor, at least) will remain with us for longer than expected.
"European carmakers are already proving they are ready to step up to the plate, with increasingly affordable electric cars coming to the market," said the EU's Frans Timmermans. "The speed at which this change has happened over the past few years is remarkable." Not everyone will be pleased by the decision, though.
German officials have previously spoken out against the legislation, based on the fact that the combustion engine will still serve very niche sectors. Several other European nations have also argued against the ban, but it seems the various protestations fell on deaf ears.
The outspoken Oliver Zipse, CEO of BMW and president of the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association (ACEA), described the decision as far-reaching. Zipse has previously expressed disdain for a premature ICE ban. "It would be harmful to simply give up a technology in which you have a global market position. I don't think that would help the climate or anyone else," he said at the time.
BMW's big boss said automakers can easily provide the necessary vehicles, but he believes more needs to be done to help the automotive industry reach these lofty targets. Aside from superior charging networks, access to renewable energy is essential too.
"The days of the carbon-spewing, pollution-belching combustion engine are finally numbered. It's 125 years since Rudolf Diesel revolutionized engine efficiency, but lawmakers have decided the next chapter will be written by the cleaner, better electric vehicle," commented Julia Poliscanova of Transport and Environment. It's worth noting that cars and vans produce just 16% of Europe's greenhouse gases.
Closer to home, the state of California recently announced that it too would ban the sale of combustion-engined vehicles from 2035. Unlike the EU, which aims to reduce emissions before eliminating ICE vehicles entirely, the Sunshine State will gradually phase in new regulations. By 2026, for example, 35% of all new cars sold in the state will have to be emissions-free. This will rise to 68% by 2030 and, eventually, 100% by 2035. New York is also expected to follow suit.
Hopefully, some elbow room is provided for alternative energy sources, such as synthetic fuel and hydrogen power.