Europe prepares for the end of combustion engines in 2035, year in which all brands must have a completely electric range and new vehicles with combustion engines may not be marketed, which includes the hybrids.
There are many manufacturers – the vast majority of generalists – who have already begun the transformation process in their production models that necessarily implies the ambitious proposal of the European Union in favor of a more sustainable mobility, in response to the devastating effects of the climate change.
However, manufacturers with a low production volume, such as exclusive brands such as Ferrari or Lamborghini, they have much more complicated the process and even see how their future is in danger.
Cradle of iconic supercars
The European Commission announced its package of measures “Fit for 55”Last July as part of the region’s effort to reduce emissions that contribute to global warming, but the schedule that these measures imply could be a challenge for luxury producers, as their sales volumes limit the possibilities of economies scale derived from plant conversion.
For this reason, and as reported Bloomberg, the Government of Italy, the birthplace of some of the most iconic European supercars, has started talks with the Commission of the European Union to protect these brands and give them more time.
While Rome supports Europe’s commitment to reduce emissions by eliminating the most polluting engines, in an interview with Bloomberg TV, the Italian Minister of Ecological Transition, Roberto Cingolani, stated that they are discussing how the new rules would apply to the high-end automakers that sell far fewer vehicles than major producers.
Cingolani has emphasized that this extension is necessary not only so that the supercar niche can continue to develop increasingly efficient engines and research with the use of synthetic fuels. He has also indicated that it would be “a crucial step” for Italy to gain autonomy in the production of high performance batteriesTherefore, the country wants to promote “a gigafactory for the production of these components on a large scale.”
Plans yet to be defined
The European Union’s plan to phase out combustion vehicles is still in its early stages, so member states and the European Parliament have to debate and outline the proposals that are already on the table. The process is likely to take a few more months, and until then, there are several countries that could propose modifications in addition to Italy.
For example, France has already shown signs of resistance to the new plan, advocating for more lenient targets: it supports the goal of reducing car emissions by 55% by 2030, although it will ask for hybrids to stay on the market longer depending on picks up Bloomberg.
The president of the European Association of Automobile Manufacturers, Oliver Zipse, has declared that he supports the Italian effort given the “special situation” faced by supercar manufacturers. “For very small manufacturers, who in the broader picture of total emissions play almost no role, there are good arguments to consider these exemptions,” he declared at the Munich Motor Show.
The percentage that Italian luxury supercars represent in the market compared to the millions of cars sold by generalist brands every year is really low, since in 2020, Ferrari sold around 9,100 vehicles in total, while Lamborghini sales were of about 7,400. Both brands currently only have two hybrid models in their range. The most recent, the Ferrari 296 GTB and the Lamborghini Countach.
Help from Brussels could be crucial for Ferrari, for example, as it does not yet offer a fully electric vehicle and has been slow to embrace electrification compared to other manufacturers. As stated by John Elkann earlier this year, the Maranello firm will introduce its first fully electric vehicle in 2025.
For the moment, we will have to wait to know the plans of both Ferrari and Lamborghini and the rest of the exclusive European supercar manufacturers. Meanwhile, at least the Italian negotiations are continuing.