Renault CEO Luca de Meo suggests European brands have stopped developing new combustion engines

Renault CEO Luca de Meo has made a surprising revelation that all European brands have stopped developing new combustion engines and are now focusing solely on EVs and hydrogen. While the sales ban on ICE cars won't come into effect in the EU until 2035, many companies have already announced plans to go completely electric well before the middle of the next decade.

Jaguar will be one of the first, bidding adieu to the ICE as early as 2025, with Renault, Volvo, Ford of Europe, Bentley, and Rolls-Royce to follow suit by 2030. Even Stellantis brands are planning to abandon petrol and diesel engines in the next seven years. Audi will launch only electric cars from 2026 and intends to end production of ICE models by 2033, while archrivals BMW and Mercedes are committed to going EV-only even before 2030 if it becomes mandatory in certain EU markets.
Volkswagen, Skoda, and Cupra/SEAT have expressed their desire to transition to an electric portfolio by launching many zero-emission models in the coming years. And while Kia and Hyundai will sell only electric cars from 2035 on the Old Continent, five years after the luxury brand Genesis, there is still hope for the ICE.

Synthetic fuels could evolve into an alternative to battery-powered and hydrogen EVs, allowing automakers to sell new combustion-engined cars even after 2035. The European Commission is said to be drafting a plan to allow this, but as de Meo points out, production would have to ramp up considerably to have strong supply chains.

So, is this the end of the road for traditional engines in Europe? While it may seem shocking, automakers have moved away from developing new combustion engines from scratch. Some of the ICEs available today will be discontinued in the coming years, while the remaining ones will have to be updated to meet Euro 7 regulations. Diesels and large-displacement petrol engines are the most vulnerable and will be the first to go extinct.

Bugatti is gradually discontinuing the production of its W16 engine, and only a few cars currently use the V12 engine. The V10 is also living on borrowed time, with Audi killing the R8 and Lamborghini planning a Huracan successor with a downsized hybrid setup. Despite this, e-fuels are still considered a "niche solution," and it remains to be seen whether they will catch on as a viable alternative to battery-powered and hydrogen EVs.

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