After more than 125 years, the end is in sight for the fossil-fuel powered car.
A growing number of countries, which together account for around 45 percent of global passenger car sales, have announced target dates when sales of internal combustion engine vehicles will be halted. They are joining some of the world’s largest cities, including London, Paris and Tokyo, that are already phasing out gasoline and diesel vehicles from their centers.
Just last year, countries with a total of nearly 30 million light-vehicle sales have pledged to decarbonize their automotive fleets. In November British Prime Minister Boris Johnson released his "Green Industrial Revolution" plan, which calls for an end to the sale of new gasoline and diesel cars in Europe’s second-largest auto market (2.3 million light vehicle sales in 2019) after 2030, five years earlier than planned.
Johnson’s proposal came as Japan (4.3 million sales in 2019) and the state of California (1.9 million sales in 2019) said they will limit or halt gasoline and diesel engine sales by 2035. Even China, the biggest global market (more than 21 million light vehicle sales in 2019), said in autumn that by 2035 half of all new cars must have full-electric or plug-in hybrid powertrains, with the rest being hybrids.
In nearly all cases, these policies do not have the force of law – but combined with ever-tightening emissions regulations, pressure from asset managers and institutional investors, and changing consumer tastes, they amount to a decisive finger on the scale for zero-emissions vehicles, analysts say.