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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 24 June 2018

France to outlaw petrol and diesel cars by 2040

New plans revealed in President Macron’s journey to 'make the planet great again'

French minister of ecological and social transition Nicolas Hulot presenting his five-year climate plan in Paris, France on July 6, 2017. Charles Platiau/Reuters
French minister of ecological and social transition Nicolas Hulot presenting his five-year climate plan in Paris, France on July 6, 2017. Charles Platiau/Reuters

FRANCE // France has announced plans to outlaw all petrol and diesel vehicles in the country by 2040.

The aggressive target in a new climate plan is a key plank of Emmanuel Macron’s drive to make France carbon neutral.

The new environment minister, Nicolas Hulot, also declared a ban on any “new project to use petrol, gas or coal”, including shale oil, by 2040.

To encourage motorists, Mr Hulot said “the government will offer each French citizen a bonus to replace their diesel car dating before 1997 or petrol car from before 2001 with a cleaner, new or secondhand vehicle”.

Mr Hulot, a former star wildlife TV presenter, did not specify whether these new measures would signify a ban on petrol and diesel car sales or if it would include hybrid cars.

He acknowledged the plan would place a heavy burden on local car manufacturers, before adding that France’s car industry was well equipped to make the switch.

The move marks France’s entry into a small group of countries already aiming to ban combustion-powered cars. Both Germany and India hope to be free from combustion-powered vehicles by 2030, while the Netherlands and Norway have a 2025 goal.

In May this year, the UAE also took steps to encourage consumers to buy new zero carbon emission cars through its scheme “Incentives for Using Electric Vehicles”. The platform will demand that up to 10 per cent of federal ministry and agency car fleets to be electric cars.

Earlier this week, Swedish carmaker Volvo’s announced it would only build electric and hybrid vehicles from 2019.

“Our customers are asking more and more about electric cars,” said Hakan Samuelsson, the chief executive of Volvo.

“It’s important to make a clear statement.”

Volvo announced that five new models, to be introduced from 2019 to 2021, would run solely on electric power.

The Chinese-owned automaker was influenced by China’s own efforts to reduce oil imports and reduce air pollution. In China, 507,000 electric vehicles were sold last year, with sales expected to rise to 700,000 this year.

Meanwhile, only 221,000 electric vehicles were sold across Europe and 157,000 in the US.

Numbers may increase depending on the success of Tesla, Elon Musk’s high-tech American automaker. Its first mass-market, self-driving, electric Model 3 cars will be rolling off the production line in America on July 7.

Tesla expects to be making 20,000 cars per month by December — and a total of 500,000 cars in 2018. Mr Musk has spoken of his vision to have an electric car in every garage powered by solar panels on every roof.