Last month, the European Parliament formally voted to approve a new law designed to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2035. This is part of a global effort to reduce emissions with most EU member states, as well as the United Kingdom, aiming to have net zero emissions by 2050.
However, Germany, one of the EU's most powerful members, called for a last-minute change to the legislation.
It wants new cars with internal combustion engines to be allowed after the 2035 deadline, provided they run on e-fuels.
If this were to be adopted, a new class of vehicles would be created which applies only to vehicles which can run solely on e-fuels.
The letter from the German ministry also suggested altering rules to allow carmakers to count such cars towards complying with CO2 targets.
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The Climate Group stated that any delay of the ban would have a devastating impact on air quality and the environment across the bloc.
The organisation added that it would call into question the EU's integrity and its ability to reach its lofty climate commitments.
In response to the potential law changes, 47 businesses are urging the European Union to stick with the 2035 phase out date of petrol and diesel cars.
The group of businesses, including Volvo Cars, Ford of Europe and Vattenfall, are all calling on the European Commission to maintain the ban.
Sandra Roling, Director of Transport at the Climate Group, said the new proposals were "deeply concerning" to postpone the ban.
She added: "That six other countries are now rowing in behind Germany risks undermining business trust in the EU itself, not to mention having a detrimental effect on the health of the EU's people and its climate, along with prolonging the life of the internal combustion engine.
"Legislative certainty is vital for business planning. In seeking to reverse the agreement secured under the French presidency, these seven Member States are undoing almost two years of negotiations and are risking the EU's ability to meet its agreed 2050 climate goals.
"Our asks are simple. Stick to the 2035 date, and no concessions for e-fuels. Give businesses the clarity and certainty they need to invest in the switch to electric vehicles."
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The open letter, which was coordinated by the Climate Group, said going ahead with the banned as planned would provide legislative certainty.
This is vital for businesses to push forward with their decarbonisation plans and invest in electric vehicles.
Rowing back proposals now would set a dangerous precedent and undermine business trust in the EU's legislative practices, the businesses argue.
Jim Rowan, CEO of Volvo Cars, said: "Now is not the time for backtracking and blocking of science-based climate targets for our industry.
"Now is not the time to put domestic political interests ahead of the health and welfare of our planet and EU citizens, and indeed of future generations.
"Now is the time for strong, decisive and progressive policy and leadership."
Volvo Cars is committed to being a fully electric car company by 2030 and aims to reach climate neutrality by 2040.
The company says it is aware of its obligation to help protect the planet and calls on EU Governments to show they are too.
Martin Sander, General Manager, Ford Model e Europe, added: "Ford is ready to go all-in electric.
"The ongoing debate only creates uncertainty among consumers and is distracting from our joint efforts to tackle the climate crisis."2023-03-23T09:47:06Z dg43tfdfdgfd