The drastic measure won't happen right away, but it's looming.
The French, protesting social justice warriors that they are, have just announced one of the most strict policies on the ongoing war against the internal combustion engine. Or more specifically, the war on the greenhouse gases that engines spew into the atmosphere. According to Reuters, the new French environmental minister, Nicolas Hulot, has announced that France will end sales of gasoline and diesel cars by 2040. Yes, as far as we're concerned, that means absolutely no cars with conventional engines will be sold in France in 23 years.
"We are announcing the end of the sale of gasoline and diesel cars by 2040," said Hulot. Shocking as the plan may be, it's all part of French President Emmanuel Macron's wish to place France in a more prominent role in the war on climate change after the US backed out of the Paris climate agreement earlier this year, and thus far this is one of the more bold plans to be announced. It would effectively put France on track towards becoming carbon neutral, one of the goals the nation has outlined for itself. "One of the symbolic acts of the plan is that France, which previously had made the promise to divide its greenhouse gas emissions by four by 2050, has decided to become carbon neutral by 2050 following the U.S. decision," said Hulot.
The carbon neutral objective will force us to make the necessary investments." Unfortunately for automakers around the world, those investments will also fall on their lap if electric cars aren't the norm by 2040. French car companies like Renault, Peugeot, and Citroen would have to foot part of the EV R & D bill, especially since diesel and gasoline vehicles constitute 95.2% of France's new cars. While the French environmental minister was unspecific as to whether the plan includes hybrid vehicles, Hulot points to Volvo's recent announcement that it would build only electric vehicles by 2019 as evidence that the ambitious plan is possible. Now the question remains, are France and Germany making the right call?