The death of combustion engines is just a question of time!

Diesel was once touted as a potential wonder fuel, promoted by governments, industry and science as a cheaper way to save the environment. Now it seems that the age of the internal combustion engine – and the pollution it causes – may well be coming to the end.

A clear sign gave France this week with its announcement that it plans to outlaw all petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040. The move was revealed by Nicolas Hulot, the new environment minister, as a part of French president Emmanuel Macron’s plans to make France a carbon neutral country by 2050.

France now joins a host of other countries that have plans to ban combustion-powered cars in the coming years. The Netherlands and Norway aim to ban petrol and diesel cars in 2025, while Germany and India plan to allow only Zero Emission vehicles by 2030.

It is still unclear how the French government plans to achieve this. At present time hybrid cars make up only 3.5% of the French market, while pure electric vehicles account just for 1.2%. Also it is not yet clear what will happen to existing fossil fuel cars still in use in 2040.

Mr. Hulot cited the example of a “European maker” who had already decided to take the plunge. This comes on the back of a decision by Volvo to ensure all of its cars launched from 2019 to be partially or completely battery-powered. Several world’s largest automakers, including Renault-Nissan, BMW and VW, have declared ambitious plans for electric cars as a key to tackling air pollution and global climate change.

France is also planning to stop using coal to produce electricity by 2022, and to reduce their reliance on nuclear from 75 percent of the country’s energy to 50 percent by 2025. Mr Hulot said the government wanted to maintain the country’s leadership” in climate policy. “We want to demonstrate that fighting against climate change can lead to an improvement of French people’s daily lives,” he said.

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