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Towards the end of combustion engines by 2035?

Towards the end of combustion engines by 2035?

Will combustion engines really come to an end in a few years’ time?

By 2035, the European Union has decided to put an end to the marketing of cars powered by internal combustion engines – with one exception, to which we’ll return later. This decision, which follows growing pressure to reduce carbon emissions and combat climate change, represents a major turning point for the automotive industry.

Admittedly, Germany has recently secured the use of e-fuels (i.e. synthetic petrol produced from CO2 and hydrogen) to continue powering internal combustion engines. However, this announcement underlines a profound shift in demand towards more environmentally-friendly modes of transport.

Many consequences of this decision

In concrete terms, automakers need to speed up their transition to alternative propulsion technologies, starting with plug-in hybrids and then of course electric vehicles. The latter are already increasingly popular, especially in countries where governments have introduced incentive policies to encourage their adoption. What’s more, drivers are also becoming increasingly aware of their impact on the environment, and are looking for more sustainable mobility solutions.

However, the switch to electric cars raises a number of challenges for the automotive industry. Firstly, manufacturers must invest heavily in the development of batteries that are not only more efficient, but also less costly. To put it another way, these batteries need to be capable of delivering sufficient range at a more affordable cost than is currently the case. What’s more, the recharging infrastructure needs to be considerably improved to enable practical long-distance use of electric cars – and here again, there’s still a long way to go…

The transition to electric vehicles – including hydrogen propulsion, for simplicity’s sake – will also have consequences for the entire supply chain. Equipment manufacturers will have to adapt to the growing demand for parts for electric vehicles – in parallel with a drop in those for internal combustion engines. Note that we’re talking about a “drop” here, not a “disappearance”, for the simple reason that outside the European Union, combustion engines will continue to be produced for many years to come, and it will be of the utmost importance to ensure that these blocks are as efficient as possible. In addition, as mentioned above, within the EU itself, e-fuels will enable internal combustion engines to be used in at least some top-of-the-range vehicles; in fact, Porsche and BMW have long supported these synthetic fuels.

Our opinion

In any case, a rapid expansion in the number of electric vehicles logically implies ensuring upstream that the materials needed for battery production, such as lithium and cobalt, will be available in sufficient quantities. Unfortunately, at this stage, this is more of a gamble than a certainty… In the same vein, the development of recharging infrastructures is a key challenge for the transition to electric vehicles, not to mention e-fuels. In any case, massive investment in public and private charging stations will be needed to meet growing demand. If we recall the stress that some winter evenings generate at EDF, it’s even the entire network that will have to be resized, unless drivers are encouraged (or forced) to recharge outside peak hours.

As far as the automotive aftermarket is concerned, the European Union’s decision will have little impact in the short-to-medium term, for two reasons. Firstly, thermal vehicles will continue to be sold if they can run exclusively on e-fuel, and secondly, all those already sold up to 2035 will have fifteen or more years of “life” ahead of them. Of course, aftermarket players need to offer more and more parts for electric vehicles – and that’s of course what we do at EFI Automotive.

Sources :,,