France started the ball rolling in early July with Nicolas Hulot, the country's Ecology Minister, stating that France was planning to become carbon neutral by 2050. Several French cities are battling high polluton.
The French decision to set the date for electric vehicles (EVs) was partly triggered by President Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris climate change agreement.
The UK followed France in setting 2040 as the target date to end sales of vehicles with only conventional petrol and diesel engines. The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) will exempt hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles that have some electrical propulsion. In the run-up to 2040 there will be no punitive action against owners of diesel, petrol and hybrid vehicles.
EV charge points Image: Commons
In a bid to improve air quality, the UK government is investigating how speed limits affect emissions levels. The obvious question being asked, not just in the UK but around the world, is whether national power grids will be able to cope with the increased electricity demand from EVs.
China is working on an EV timetable of its own. Xin Guobin, vice-minister of industry and information technology has not set a date, stating: “Enterprises should strive to improve the level of energy saving for traditional cars, and vigorously develop new energy vehicles according to assessment requirements.”
Draft regulation was introduced in June to force manufacturers to produce more electrically powered vehicles by 2020 through a complex quota system. Volvo is planning to introduce its first 100% EV in China in 2019 and is aiming to have all models with some form of electric power by 2020. Jaguar Land Rover also recently announced electric variants across all model ranges by the same year.
However, investors in the country's oil majors were unmoved by the latest government pronouncements. The global oil industry itself also appeared relatively unconcerned by the latest changes. BP is predicting that global demand for oil will still grow in 2035, despite the numbers of EVs. Spencer Dale, BP group’s chief economist says, "2 billion people, much of that in Asia, are moving to middle incomes, can buy their first motor car and that drives up oil demand."
Published 11th September, 2017
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