Low-volume sports car makers exempt from EU’s planned ICE ban
If you have ever found yourself fortunate enough to be laughing your head off at the wheel of a Caterham Seven, Morgan 3 Wheeler or BAC Mono, there’s good news for their survival in a zero-emission-vehicle future, at least in Europe. Low-volume car manufacturers will be exempt from the 2035 ban on the sale of new internal combustion engine cars and commercial vehicles, the European Union has confirmed.
In a statement, the EU said: “Manufacturers responsible for small production volumes in a calendar year (1000 to 10,000 new cars or 1000 to 22,000 new vans) may be granted a derogation until the end of 2035 (those registering fewer than 1000 new vehicles per year continue to be exempt).”
For the U.K.’s sports car makers, they can continue selling their cars in Europe, although the country’s departure from the EU amid Brexit leaves a question mark over what will happen here.
The Department for Transport (DoT) says that the final details around its regulatory framework will be published “soon” but didn’t rule out a similar approach to the EU. Most promising is the fact that the U.K. plan “will take into consideration the role of small-volume manufacturers” for the “U.K.-specific regulations”.
Under current U.K. plans, the sale of new gasoline and diesel cars and vans will be banned in 2030, while all new cars and vans must be fully zero-emission from 2035.
The U.K. low-volume car industry is understandably positive about the EU announcement, with Neill Briggs, co-founder of BAC, telling Autocar he expects to steal sales from Europe’s big names. “I think there’s a huge opportunity that businesses like BAC will potentially take volume away from some of the big boys,” he said.
“If an electric solution for a Lamborghini, Porsche or Ferrari, for example, is perhaps not your bag and you prefer an internal combustion engine solution, then perhaps companies like Gordon Murray [Automotive] and BAC are going to be the places for people to go to.”
As of now, the United States has no federal-level plans for a phase-out of internal combustion power. As recently as 2021, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) published regulations that allow low-volume motor vehicle manufacturers to begin selling replica cars, albeit in compliance with date-of-production emissions requirements.
Via Hagerty UK