The Time Is Now
Electric vehicles (EVs) are becoming cheaper and more efficient, and their benefit to the environment can't be overstated. To speed up the adoption of these vehicles, several nations have announced plans to ban the sale of non-electric vehicles, effectively putting an end to the creation of new gas- and diesel-powered cars.
The Netherlands has a particularly ambitious timeline in place, with plans to sell only EVs from 2025 onward. This is part of a much broader commitment to developing the future of transportation.
Thanks to its longstanding efforts to incentivize electric vehicles, Norway has emerged as a leader in terms of public adoption. As such, it shouldn't be too much of a stretch for the country to achieve its goal of all new cars being zero- or low-emission by 2025.
In India, only electric and hybrid cars will be legally available for purchase after 2030. This optimistic deadline may prove challenging for the nation, given the relatively small number of charging stations that are currently in place compared to drivers on the road.
Germany plans to implement its total ban on internal combustion engines by 2030, as well. Given the significant amount of auto production based in the country, this legislation could positively impact the industry more broadly.
Sweeping changes proposed by Environment Minister Nicolas Hulot will see France discontinue the sale of gas- and diesel-powered vehicles in 2040. However, the nation's capital is set to enforce similar measures a decade sooner.
Shortly after France announced its plans, the United Kingdom followed suit with a similar announcement. Cars and vans powered by gas and diesel will no longer be sold in the UK after 2040.
The Road Ahead
While all these plans are encouraging, the vast majority of countries have yet to commit to a transition away from traditional automobiles. Meanwhile, some, such as China, have confirmed their intentions to end the sale of fossil fuel-powered cars but haven't yet set specific deadlines, meaning they could delay the ban for decades to come.
The overall impact of these bans could also be less than ideal given the size of the nations' driving populations. Of those with official plans in place, only France and Norway make the list of top 20 countries in terms of vehicles per capita.
Also worth noting is the fact that these measures only ban the sale of non-electric vehicles. These nations aren't banning the use of gas- or diesel-powered vehicles outright by the date specified — they simply plan to start phasing them out.
Still, any action that puts humanity on the path to a fossil fuel-free future is a step in the right direction, and hopefully, more nations will follow suit with their own pledges to ban the sale of non-electric vehicles.