To meet its ambitious plans in the Paris climate accord, France has announced it will end sales of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040, about 23 years from now.
The government of Mr. Emmanuel Macron, announced this on Thursday, a day after Volvo said it would only make fully electric or hybrid cars from 2019 onwards. The Guardian reported that Volvo’s decision was greeted as the beginning of the end for the internal combustion engine’s dominance of motor transport after more than a century.
However, France’s new ecology minister, Nicolas Hulot, said: “We are announcing an end to the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2040,” adding that the move was an absolute revolution.
Hulot, noted that the decision would be a tough objective for carmakers, but that France’s industry was well equipped to make the switch.
“Our makers have enough ideas in the drawer to nurture and bring about this promise, which is also a public health issue,” Hulot explained.
He also insisted that the decision was a question of public health policy and, “a way to fight against air pollution”.
Similarly, France Inter radio reported Pascal Canfin, the head of WWF France and a former Green politician who served in François Hollande’s government, to have said the new policy went further than previous administrations in France. “It places France among the leaders of climate action in the world,” Canfin said.
In another vein, the Guardian reported Prof. David Bailey, an automotive industry expert at Aston University, to have said: “The timescale involved here is sufficiently long term to be taken seriously. If enacted it would send a very clear signal to manufacturers and consumers of the direction of travel and may accelerate a transition to electric cars.”
At the moment, Norway, has the highest penetration of electric cars in the world, and has also set a target of 2025 to only allowing sales of 100 per cent electric or plug-in hybrid cars.
Other countries such as the Netherlands which has mooted a 2025 ban, have floated the idea of banning cars powered by an internal combustion engine to meet air quality and climate change goals, but have not yet passed concrete targets.
Electric cars may dominate automotive market too soon
France’s announcement came as Bloomberg New Energy Finance predicted electric cars would come to dominate the automotive market more quickly and dramatically than previously thought.
A new report by the research group, stated that electric vehicles will make up 54 per cent of all light-duty vehicle sales by 2040, rising from the 35 per cent share it forecasted in 2016.
Bloomberg, equally said such a widespread uptake of electric vehicles would globally reduce oil demand by 8 million barrels a day and increase electricity consumption by 5 per cent to charge all the new cars.