France plans to end the sale of gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles by 2040 as it seeks to become a carbon-neutral nation, Energy Minister Nicolas Hulot said as he presented the country’s “Climate Plan” on Thursday in Paris.
Hulot said France will offer tax incentives to replace diesel cars that are more than 20 years old and gasoline cars made before 2001. The government will also end oil and gas exploration in French territory, eliminate coal-fired power plants by 2022 and encourage home owners to produce their own energy.
“The target is a tough one,” Hulot, a former journalist and environmental activist, said. “But France wants to become the No. 1 green economy.”
President Emmanuel Macron’s government unveiled plans to eliminate net carbon emissions by 2050 as leaders from the Group of 20 nations, including all the world’s biggest polluters, gather in Hamburg, Germany. U.S. President Donald Trump will meet Macron, Germany’s Angela Merkel and Chinese President Xi Jinping who criticized his decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord last month.
On Wednesday, Volvo Car Group became the first major manufacturer to say it will start phasing out vehicles powered solely by fossil fuels, joining a parade of manufacturers shifting toward electric cars. Volvo says it plans to offer only hybrid or full-electric motors on every new model launched in 2019 or later, and it expects to have five full electric vehicles in its lineup by 2021. That means Volvo will make its last full-gasoline or diesel car in about 2025.
Though electric cars have been around since the 1800s and have gotten a lot of attention in the past half-decade or so, they’re still just a fraction of the overall market as drivers balk at high prices and limited driving ranges. Battery-powered autos made up about 1 percent of sales in the U.S., Europe and China last year.