Here's when it's expected to happen.
Earlier this month, Japan said it intends to join the UK in banning gasoline-powered vehicles potentially as soon as 2030. As expected, this caused some immediate uproar from major automakers, including Japan's largest, Toyota. CEO Akio Toyoda blasted the Japanese government for not understanding how the auto industry really works, pointing out the charging infrastructure is not in place while the island nation continues to burn fossil fuels to power EV charging stations. Nevertheless, Japan appears to be pushing ahead with the plan.
The Associated Press reports Japan now aims to eliminate gas-powered vehicles in about 15 years' time, so around 2035. Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga's government also pledged a carbon-free goal by 2050 and to generate almost $2 trillion in growth from green industries and related investments.
Parts of the plan calls for tripling the nation's renewable energy mix to 50-60 percent from current levels and increasing the use of clean nuclear energy. Offshore wind, hydrogen, fuel ammonia, and autos are among those that have been singled out to help Japan meet its clean energy goal. Tax incentives and other forms of government support will be provided to these industries so that green investments will not be a burden but rather a growth opportunity.
Despite Toyoda's misgivings, the automaker is actually in a good position to adapt. The all-new Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel cell vehicle is just one example and the company claims it has game-changing solid-state batteries coming in 2021.
Despite the many challenges posed by banning fossil fuels, Japan is hardly alone in its quest. Along with the UK, nations in Europe have signaled they're on board with similar plans and chances are the US is not far behind. The state of California has already declared its intention to end gas-powered new vehicle sales by 2035, for example. And then there's China, the world's biggest automotive market.
The communist nation has aggressively been pushing green energy initiatives including electric vehicle sales for the past few years and has no intention of slowing down. Automakers who want to continue doing business there will have no choice but to comply. The Japanese government wants to see the same changes, though with a non-authoritarian strategy.