Vive la electric révolution!
That date is the year 2040.
Nicolas Hulot, the country’s environment minister, revealed the news as part of a wider plan to make France carbon neutral by 2050.
The plan is itself a renewed commitment to the Paris climate deal that was also in the news recently, for less joyful reasons.
Coming hot on the heels of Volvo’s plan to sell only electric or hybrid cars by 2019, the shift away from the internal combustion engine seems to be gathering real pace.
“We want to demonstrate that fighting against climate change can lead to an improvement of French people’s daily lives,” said Mr. Hulot.
Lower income families in France will reportedly be given financial help to swap their gasoline cars for cleaner alternatives.
Prof. David Bailey, an automotive industry expert from Aston University, England, is optimistic the plan can work.
“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,” he said.
Tony Seba, an economist from Stanford University, sounds even more bullish about the future of electric vehicles, saying that “banning sales of diesel and gasoline vehicles by 2040 is a bit like banning sales of horses for road transportation by 2040: there won’t be any to ban.”
Removing gasoline cars will go a long way towards making France carbon neutral, due to its reliance on nuclear power stations for its electricity needs.
80% of its national supply comes from nuclear, although this is set to be reduced to 50% by 2025.
In addition, just 3.5% of cars in France are hybrid at present, with pure electric vehicles taking up an even smaller piece of the market at 1.2%.
Hence why removing the huge number of internal combustion engines and replacing them with vehicles powered by clean energy can make such a big difference to the French air quality.
Alongside this news, Mr. Hulot also announced plans to stop imports of products that contribute to deforestation around the world.
Palm oil and unsustainable soybeans are two of the worst culprits, and Mr. Hulot called it “schizophrenic” to force certain industries to reduce their emissions while turning a blind eye to the destruction of millions of trees in the Amazon, South East Asia, and Africa.
The question now is, which country will be next to join the race to all electric or hybrid vehicles?
via The Guardian