France to end petrol car sales by 2040

Environment minister Nicolas Hulot to drive buyers away from internal combustion with financial incentives.

France plans to end petrol and diesel car sales by 2040 to become carbon neutral by 2050Reuters

France is to end the sale of all new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040, the country's environment minister Nicolas Hulot has announced.

The drastic move was announced at a press conference on 6 July and will form part of French president Emmanuel Macron's plans to make the country carbon neutral by 2050.

The news comes just one day after Swedish carmaker Volvo announced it would only sell hybrid or electric cars by 2019. Volvo was cited by Hulot as a carmaker that has already begun a shift away from conventional internal-combustion drivetrains in favour of electric and hybrid alternatives.

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Describing the end of petrol and diesel sales as a "public health" issue, Hulot said: "We are announcing the end of the sale of gasoline and diesel cars by 2040... The solutions are there, our own [car] makers have in their boxes the means to fulfil this promise."

He did not specify if this would involve an enforced ban, or if the move includes hybrid vehicles, which are powered by a drivetrain comprised of a petrol engine and electric motor.

Germany announced in 2016 that it plans to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030, while Norway, the world's largest electric vehicle (EV) market, is hoping to sell only electric cars by as soon as 2025.

French motorists will be offered financial incentives to scrap their petrol or diesel-powered cars in favour of a cleaner and less polluting alternative.

According to the Financial Times, the ending of petrol and diesel sales would impose a "heavy" burden on local car makers; both Renault and PSA, the maker of Peugeot and Citroen cars, are both partially owned by the state.

Later this week, electric car company Tesla says its latest vehicle, the Model 3, will begin to roll off the production line. Priced from around $35,000 (£27,000), the car is being heralded as a make-or-break moment for the company and, if a success, a turning point for the electric car industry as a whole.

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