Dutch move to ban sale of combustion engines from 2025

Initial backing given for ban on sale of new petrol- or diesel-powered cars

The Dutch parliament has given initial approval to a proposal that would see the sale of new petrol- or diesel-powered cars banned from 2025 onwards. Labour politician Jan Vos has secured the backing of the lower house of the Dutch parliament for the law, and now it must pass through the upper house.

“We need to phase out CO2 emissions and we need to change our pattern of using fossil fuels if we want to save the Earth” said Vos in a statement.

The likelihood of the proposal passing the upper house seems high, but Vos also said enforcement of such a ban is not really practical until the cost of buying electric cars comes down significantly.

“Transportation with your own car shouldn’t be something that only rich people can afford,” he said. He added that the government could take immediate action to progress the plan by increasing the number of available charging stations.


Fossil fuel ban

A 2025 ban would be significantly ahead of the most optimistic predictions for the death of internal combustion. Toyota has previously said it intended to phase out production of fossil-fuel engines by about 2050, but other car makers are not so sure.

Mercedes, for example, recently invested €2.9 billion in creating its new family of 2.0-litre diesel engines; and, as one Mercedes insider told The Irish Times, "They wouldn't put in an investment like that unless they were pretty confident that the return would be there over a long period."


Others are also casting doubts on the potential for widespread electric car development, with Fiat-Chrysler boss Sergio Marchionne recently telling Car magazine: "If it looks and smells like Tesla, I don't know how to make that economic model work. There is nothing Tesla do that we cannot also do. We build cars, sell them and are still able to pay the bills.

“But I’m not even sure you can recover all of your costs – let alone generate a profit – through electrification. The answer is bound to be somewhere else, and the question is whether we are doing enough to try to explore that somewhere else.”

In possibly not unrelated news, Tesla itself is about to upgrade the batteries for its Model S and Model X cars from 90kWh to 100kWh, rebadging the cars as P100D and P100X. A filing with, appropriately, the Dutch authority for vehicle type approval suggests the 100D models will have a maximum one-charge range of 614km, compared with the current best 90D model’s 558km.

Neil Briscoe

Neil Briscoe

Neil Briscoe, a contributor to The Irish Times, specialises in motoring