France has announced it will ban the sale of both petrol and diesel cars by 2040 to meet its commitments to the Paris Climate Accord.

THE FRENCH GOVERNMENT has announced it will ban the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040 to ensure it meets its commitments to the Paris Climate Accord. The move is sure to frustrate car makers who still seem to be dancing around the edges of building greener vehicles. And, it will apply pressure to other countries around the world, like Australia, to make similar moves.

France’s new ecology minister (minister for the environment, in other words), Nicolas Hulot, said yesterday: “We are announcing an end to the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2040.” Hulot described the move as a “veritable revolution”.

Hulot acknowledged that many car makers would be frustrated by the announcement, but added “Our [car]makers have enough ideas in the drawer to nurture and bring about this promise … which is also a public health issue.”

France isn’t alone, the Netherlands too have suggested it would like to ban both petrol and diesel cars from 2025, while areas in Germany suggest a 2030 phase out, with India also saying it would like to stop selling petrol and diesel cars by 2030.

At home, Electric Vehicle Council CEO Behyad Jafari said this latest announcement is an urgent wake-up call for Australian governments to take immediate action to support growth in the domestic industry.

“The era of the internal combustion engine is coming to an end. With more than two million electric vehicles already sold, and another one million expected this year, it’s no surprise that countries are lining up to support a booming global industry.”

“Meanwhile, sales of electric vehicles in Australia are years behind, due to a lack of any policy support to provide certainty for mass market investment.”

The Electric Vehicle Council has called on Australian governments to provide short-term support to drive the initial demand of electric vehicles through, cost support by electric vehicle exemptions to taxes such as Fringe Benefits Tax, Stamp Duty and Registration to bring down the upfront cost of electric vehicles; implementation of strong light vehicle CO2 standards, bulk government fleet purchasing programs and targets for national electric vehicle sales in line with the international market.

The news out of France came just a day after Volvo announced it would only build hybrid or all-electric vehicles from 2019. Håkan Samuelsson, the Volvo chief executive, said: “This announcement marks the end of the solely combustion engine-powered car.

“We are determined to be the first car manufacturer to move our entire portfolio of vehicles into electrification. This is a clear commitment to reducing our carbon footprint and improving the air quality of our cities. We believe the future of Volvo is electric.”


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