The French government supports a target of reducing car emissions by 55% by 2030; and for hybrids to stay on the market longer, an official in President Emmanuel Macron’s office said on Monday. Bloomberg News reported last week that the European Commission plans to require emissions to fall 65% from 2030 and drop to zero from 2035.
The official, who asked not to be identified in accordance with government policy, commented after Macron met with executives from automakers, including Stellantis and Renault, as well as worker representatives to discuss the transition to vehicles electric. The country will also consider further support for the industry to help it adopt new technologies, the official said.
The French position could signal that a battle is brewing within the EU over the new climate targets and their impact on the automotive industry. The effective ban on combustion engines by 2035 is part of an ambitious plan to align the region’s economy with more aggressive climate goals. It would also mean phasing out hybrids faster than some executives and labor officials anticipated.
“We know there will be no other choice but to switch to electric cars,” said Jean-Marie Robert, representative of the CFDT union, who attended the meeting. “What is important is to prepare in advance.
The EU’s new emission targets would be significantly stricter than existing fleet-wide targets requiring a 37.5% reduction in emissions by 2030. As the auto industry braced for rules stricter, the meeting with Macron was part of an effort to gain support for a slower phase-out of combustion engines.
The Automotive Platform, the industry’s leading lobby group, estimates that 17.5 billion euros ($ 21 billion) of investment will be needed in the country by the middle of the decade to develop batteries, charging stations, hydrogen and associated services.
The phasing out of combustion engines could lead to a loss of around 100,000 automotive jobs in France by 2035 and the closure of manufacturing sites, according to a presentation by PFA. The industry directly employs around 190,000 people today.