► France to ban petrol and diesel
► Fossil fuel ban by 2040
► It’s a new French energy revolution
The French government plans to ban the sale of any new car powered by petrol or diesel by 2040 as part of a new energy revolution which includes ending coal power stations and reducing its nuclear capacity.
Many saw the announcement as another nail in the coffin of the internal combustion engine (ICE) - in a week when Volvo had already pledged to part-electrify every car it sold by 2019.
However, critics point out that France is merely following an inexorable industry shift that is well underway already - and that it’s an empty promise from ministers who will most likely not be in power in two decades’ time.
Why France is banning petrol and diesel
Energy minister Nicolas Hulot, who was appointed by new French president Emmanuel Macron, called for an energy revolution as part of a plan to turn France carbon neutral by 2050.
He said the ICE vehicular ban was encouraged by the American withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement. ‘France has decided to become carbon neutral by 2050 following the US decision,’ Hulot added.
Several French cities, most notably Paris, suffer from high levels of air pollution; the French capital is already banning cars on certain days and pedestrianising large areas.
French cars: the future’s electric
The move is consistent with the trends already transforming the global car industry. Today around 95% of cars in Europe are powered by fossil fuels; 3.5% of sales in France are hybrids and pure EVs account for just 1.2%.
The government appears to be betting that car makers - and more specifically, domestic producers Peugeot Citroen (PSA) and Renault - can accelerate their provision of alternative fuels to the mass market in just under a quarter of a century.
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