France will end sales of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040 Ecology Minister Nicolas Hulot announced on Thursday.
For most this is seen as a signal for the French auto industry to catch up with international competition. For others, this is a signal to abandon the very concept of a “family car.”
The measure announced makes part of the French action plan to meet the Paris Accord target objectives.
Hulot acknowledged that reaching that objective would be a tall order, particularly for car manufacturers. Although car manufacturers Peugeot, Citroen and Renault have a very good record on low-emission combustive engines according to the European Environment Agency (EEA), leaving behind the cost-effective combustion engine requires taking a lead in the next generation of electric and hybrid motor vehicles.
Volvo announced on Wednesday it is moving to produce all-electric vehicles by 2019, while all leading mainstream manufacturers are taking resolute steps towards the same direction, including Audi, Lamborghini, Aston Martin, BMW, and Mercedes Benz.
Germany aims to put one million electric cars on the road by 2020, while Tesla is about to release its first mass market model within July 2017. Until 2016, hybrid and electric cars accounted for 3.6% of registered cars in Western Europe.
Moving towards an altogether different policy trajectory, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo has pronounced the concept of private vehicles altogether “archaic” and is moving to promote pedestrianization, cycling, and mass transport infrastructure.