‘Technological neutrality’ should be spray painted in 50-foot-high letters on the side of the European Commission building in Brussels, given how often its officials use it to describe the EU executive branch’s policies and rules.

According to one old chestnut that is trotted out at most public events on mobility, ‘the EU would allow coal-powered cars if BMW or Volkswagen could engineer them not to emit any pollution.’

That is why a plan that is currently making its way through the labyrinth of the EU decision-making process aims to slash emissions from passenger cars by 100 per cent by 2035, but does not explicitly call it a ban on petrol or diesel.

In practice, it will be just that though, as a 100 per cent emissions cut will likely only be achievable through using battery-powered electric drivetrains or – in some cases – hydrogen power, if the fuel is sourced from renewable energy.

The plan endorsed by MEPs urges the Commission to come up with a harmonised...