France will end sales of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040 as part of an ambitious plan to meet its targets under the Paris climate accord, Emmanuel Macron’s government has announced, reports The Guardian.
The announcement comes a day after Volvo said it would only make fully electric or hybrid cars from 2019 onwards, a decision hailed as the beginning of the end for the internal combustion engine’s dominance of motor transport after more than a century.
Nicolas Hulot, the country’s new ecology minister, said: “We are announcing an end to the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2040.” Hulot added that the move was a “veritable revolution”.
He said it would be a “tough” objective for carmakers but France’s industry was well equipped to make the switch. “Our [car]makers have enough ideas in the drawer to nurture and bring about this promise ... which is also a public health issue.”
Hulot insisted that the decision was a question of public health policy and “a way to fight against air pollution”. The veteran environmental campaigner was among several political newcomers to whom Macron gave top jobs in his government.
Pascal Canfin, the head of WWF France and a former Green politician who served in François Hollande’s government, said the new policy platform to counter climate change went further than previous administrations in France. “It places France among the leaders of climate action in the world,” he told France Inter radio.
Prof David Bailey, an automotive industry expert at Aston University, said: “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.”