France Plans to End Sales of Gas and Diesel Cars by 2040
The target is less ambitious than that set by countries like Norway and India. However, from a major automobile producer, France’s statement provided additional impetus to efforts against climate change and urban pollution, promoting the use of electric cars.
The timing of the announcement was also significant, a day after the automaker Volvo said it would phase out the internal combustion engine and during a visit to Europe by President Trump.
The announcement by Nicolas Hulot, the French environment minister, was the expression of European leaders’ willingness to pursue an environment program despite Mr Trump’s repudiation of the Paris agreement on climate change.
The plan to eliminate gasoline and diesel cars is part of France’s broader effort to limit global warming, Mr. Hulot describes Thursday. The country also stops issuing new licenses for oil and gas exploration this year and will stop using coal to generate electricity by 2022, he said.
The statement by M. Hulot was the last sign that the internal combustion engine Centennial could fix slowly.
Wednesday Volvo said its new models from 2019 would be automobile or hybrid battery that combines electric motors with diesel or petrol engines.
The Swedish-based company said no new design was introduced that was only powered by conventional internal combustion engines – a first for a major automaker. M. Hulot referred to Volvo during his address in Paris on Thursday.
There was no immediate reaction to the statement from the government of the two major French automakers, Renault and PSA Group, which make Peugeot and Citroen cars.
While electric cars still represent a market, sales rose rapidly. Renault sold 17,000 of its Zoe-powered compact cars during the first six months of 2017, almost the same amount in 2016.
France has faced criticism that its plan was not ambitious enough. Norway plans to sell only electric cars from 2025 and India plans to do so in 2030.
Since cars typically last about 15 years, France’s target means that gasoline and diesel cars would be on the road until 2055. That’s too long to achieve climate change targets in France, said Greg Archer, director of vehicles Clean for transport and environment, defense group in Brussels.
But M. Archer added that the French movement “is absolutely the right direction to take.”
Such an expression of the government’s resolution can encourage companies to devote more resources to the development of electric vehicles and to encourage investors to put money into new clean transportation companies.
France’s move could also put pressure on Germany and other European countries to promote electric vehicles.
However, M. Archer said that it was essential for France to continue incentives and regulations that encourage the use of electric cars. M. Hulot gave no indication of how the Government envisaged to achieve its objective.
The German government initially planned to put a million electric vehicles on the country’s roads by 2020, but admitted that it would not be far from that goal. The government has been slow to provide financial incentives and create public charging stations.
“It’s great to have a vision,” said M. Archer. “Now we have to see the policies in place to achieve that vision.”