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The modern, fossil-fueled automobile was born in Europe in 1886 when German engineer Karl Benz received the first patent for a gasoline-powered car. Nearly a century and a half later, Europe could be the first place where the gasoline-powered car meets its end. The question for European automakers is whether they will control the market for electric cars – or whether Chinese competitors will be too strong to fend off.

New climate targets, new climate regulations

Several European governments are among the first to set phase-out dates for new sales of passenger cars powered by internal combustion engines: 2040 in France, 2030 in The Netherlands, and 2025 in Norway. But the transition in Europe is accelerating well in advance of any ban: battery-powered and plug-in hybrid cars made up 14% of new passenger car sales in the EU in the first quarter of 2021, with 6% of those being pure electric vehicles. And with the EU soon to tighten its CO2 emission standards for vehicles in the context of the European Green Deal – Volkswagen already faces a fine of over 100 million EUR for its excessive emissions in 2020 – it is clear that the internal combustion engine is running out of road.


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Please note this article does not constitute investment advice. Investors are encouraged to do their own research beforehand or consult a professional advisor.

Michael Morton

Michael Morton

Michael has worked within the Financial Industry for more than 20 years. Starting out as a financial analyst, he has extensive experience working with fund management groups and brokerages.

With an interest in Stocks and Shares, Funds, ETFs and Commodities, his investment focus is medium to long term gains, with the objective of financial security on retirement, and building wealth for his young children for their adult life. His broker of choice is Hargreaves Lansdown.

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