France is planning to outlaw all petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040, its new environment minister, Nicolas Hulot, has announced.
The radical measure was one of a series he unveiled at a press conference this morning as part of French president Emmanuel Macron’s plans to make France a carbon neutral country by 2050.
Mr Hulot, a former star wildlife TV presenter, announced “the end of the sale of petrol or vehicles between now and 2040.”
The French will in the meantime be offered financial incentives to scrap their polluting vehicles – including second-hand ones – for clean alternatives, he said, without providing more details.
Mr Hulot cited the example of a “European maker” who had already decided to take the plunge. That was a reference to Volvo, which on Wednesday announced plans to build only electric and hybrid vehicles starting in 2019, making it the first major automaker to abandon cars and SUVs powered solely by the internal combustion engine.
CEO Hakan Samuelsson said the move was dictated by customer demand. It means that in two years, all new Volvo vehicles will have some form of electric propulsion.
“The solutions are there, our own makers have in their boxes the means to fulfill this promise,” said Mr Hulot, calling it a “public health” issue.
France is by no means the only country aiming to ban combustion-powered cars in some form. Germany wants to do away with 100 per cent combustion-powered vehicles by 2030, as does India. The Netherlands and Norway wish to do so by 2025.
It was not immediately clear if Mr Hulot meant a ban on even partially petrol or diesel-powered vehicles.
The minister also said that France will stop producing power from coal-power stations – now five per cent of the total – by 2022. The country also wants to reduce the proportion of its power from nuclear to 50 percent by 2025, from the current 75 per cent.