We have the progressively more stringent European emissions regulations to thank for the increasingly clean ICE vehicles driving around on the Old Continent. The very latest iteration, Euro 6d , is so strict that even gas-burning cars require a particulate filter to be fitted in Europe, and the Euro 7 standard (expected to go into effect around 2025 - 2026) will be even more stringent.
Manufacturers will have to find ways of making ICE vehicles even cleaner, or they could just ditch them completely and go all in on EVs. This is what Nissan’s Chief Operations Officer, Ashwani Gupta, believes will happen and he also thinks Euro 7 will accelerate the shift towards fully-electric vehicles with zero tailpipe emissions.
According to Autocar, Gupta said that
For Nissan, electrification is not the objective, but it should be the consequence of consumer choice. We will electrify our line-up by the end of 2022, then it’s the customer that will decide which is the best powertrain choice. Maybe we don’t wait until 2030 because customers go for 100% electrification in Europe by 2026. Our job is to bring a competitive electric car in terms of cost and performance to the customer, and then the customer will decide.
Adding extra momentum to the shift towards EVs are the ICE vehicle bans announced by major European countries (as well as some big cities separately), as well as other countries from around the world in and around the year 2030. Mind you, none of these bans have officially been voted into law, and they are facing a lot of opposition (usually from the automakers themselves, because they want to prolong the period in which selling ICE vehicles is still possible).
But as Gupta pointed out, if it will prove more economical for automakers to just make EVs instead of trying to find new ways to make their engines cleaner, then they will be fully on-board with it. Right now, making EVs is still more expensive than making gas cars, but you can find a plethora of studies that predict the price of batteries (the main source for EVs’ extra cost) will go down and within the next decade and thus eliminate the current price difference.