The EU has set a target of banning the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2035 as part of its Fit for 55 decarbonisation plan.
The proposed legislation would also require countries to install public electric vehicle (EV) charging points no more than 60 km (37.3 miles) apart on major roads by 2025 to help boost EV adoption.
The plan also includes a reduction to zero CO2 emissions from new cars sold in the bloc by 2035, as it seeks a 55% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2030 compared with 2021 levels.
The target accelerates the previous plan, which targeted a 37.5% reduction by the end of the decade.
The wider Fit for 55 plans will also aim to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions by 55% from 1990 levels by 2030 in a step toward net zero emissions by 2050.
Helen Clarkson, chief executive officer at the Climate Group, said: “This is the sort of ambition we’ve been waiting to see from the EU, where it’s been lacking in recent years. The science tells us we need to halve emissions by 2030, so for road transport it’s simple – get rid of the internal combustion engine.
“We’re encouraged to see the EU propose a revision to car CO2 emission standards to bring forward the end of sales of new petrol and diesel vehicles to 2035 – this target is not only possible but would ensure Europe maintains its role as a leader in the climate transition. Beyond this, it’s encouraging to see commitments to invest in charging infrastructure.
“Members of the EV100 initiative have committed to adopting zero emission fleets by 2030. Policies such as these set a clear agenda towards a zero-emission future and will help all businesses invest with confidence in zero emission vehicles in order that the market develops in the right way.”
The EU plan follows as the UK Government published its long-awaited transport decarbonisation plan, which includes proposals to end the sale of new heavy vans and trucks powered by fossil fuels and electrifying the Government fleet.
Government has previously said that it will end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030, with hybrids banned from 2035.
Connected software solutions provider Cubic Telecom, said it welcomes the EU Commission’s proposals.
Barry Napier, CEO at Cubic Telecom, said: "The announcement from the EU Commission is welcome because it gives makers of combustion engines certainty that didn't previously exist. It also gives us certainty knowing that from 2035 we will only be supplying EVs with our software.
"Ultimately, the entire automotive industry can now start to plan accordingly and that surely must be a good thing.”
David Borland, automotive leader at firm EY UK and Ireland, said the Fit for 55 roadmap will have "consequences" for industry sectors and businesses across the EU and will require the transport eco-system to work together.
He said a "significant increase" in the sales of zero emissions vehicles and an expansion of charging infrastructure will also be required.
"Targets will take some time to be finalised and manufacturers and others will get to have their say," said Borland.
"While the new emissions targets and regulations could prove to be a challenge, a supportive and collaborative ecosystem at government and cross-industry levels could help manufacturers thrive in the new framework.
"Comprehensive policy support will be required from all EU governments to help automakers manage the transition and play their part in the emissions battle."