petrol and diesel cars from 2040 in an attempt to reduce air pollution, a
move that will spell doom for oil producers such as Nigeria.
the end of over a century of the popular use of the fossil
fuel-guzzling internal combustion engine.
Britain’s step, which follows France, amounts to a victory for electric
cars that could eventually transform the wealth of major oil producers,
car industry employment and one of the icons of 20th-century capitalism:
the automobile itself.
The mayors of Paris, Madrid, Mexico City and Athens have said they plan
to ban diesel vehicles from city centres by 2025, while the French
government also aims to end the sale of new gasoline and diesel vehicles
pressure to take steps to reduce air pollution after losing legal cases
brought by campaign groups, and in May set out proposals for a scrappage
scheme to get rid of the most polluting vehicles.
“Today we are confirming that that means there should be no new diesel
or petrol vehicles by 2040,” environment minister Michael Gove told BBC
Conservatives had pledged to make “almost every car and van”
zero-emission by 2050. The Times newspaper said the supply of hybrid
vehicles which have both an electric and petrol or diesel engine would
There is a mountain to climb, however.
than 5 per cent of new car registrations in Britain, with drivers
concerned about the cost and limited availability of charging points and
manufacturers worried about making expensive investments before the
demand is there.
“We could undermine the UK’s successful automotive sector if we don’t
allow enough time for the industry to adjust,” warned Mike Hawes, chief
executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
to countenance the end of the combustion engine, some have embraced a
future where electric vehicles, or perhaps even driverless vehicles,
ultimately win the race.
first major traditional automaker to set a date for phasing out vehicles
powered solely by the internal combustion engine by saying all its car
models launched after 2019 would be electric or hybrids.
Renault-Nissan in 2009 announced plans to spend 4 billion euros on electric car development.
cheating on U.S. diesel emissions tests, most mainstream auto
manufacturers had been slow to sink serious investment into battery
The backlash against diesel, without which carmakers would struggle to
meet CO2 targets, has since refocused minds and produced a flurry of new
ambitious plans last year to roll out 30 new battery-powered models that
it expects to account for 2-3 million annual sales by 2025 – or as much
as 25 per cent of its vehicle production.
Toyota, which pioneered gasoline-electric hybrids but had long resisted
battery-only cars, changed tack last year and has since unveiled plans
for a new range of pure-electric models.
In Europe, so called ‘green cars’ benefit from subsidies, tax breaks and
other perks, while combustion engines face mounting penalties including
driving and parking restrictions.
pollution levels in major cities, is pushing plug-in vehicles, though in
the United States there is much less appetite so far.
such as VW, Daimler and BMW, should soon start phasing out petrol and
diesel too, said Oliver Wittke, a transport expert in Chancellor Angela
Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU).
But there is likely to be resistance in Europe’s biggest car market.
More than 600,000 jobs could be at risk in Germany from a potential ban
on combustion engine cars by 2030, the Ifo economic institute said
earlier this month in a study commissioned by Germany’s VDA car industry
also invested heavily in diesel technology, which offers more efficient
fuel burn and lower carbon dioxide emissions than gasoline-powered cars.
German government spokeswoman said yesterday that Merkel had repeatedly
warned against “demonising” diesel vehicles.
Yet Britain’s move will accelerate the decline of diesel cars, whose
nitrogen oxide emissions have been blamed for causing respiratory
diseases, in Europe’s second biggest market.