France has revealed plans to ban all petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040, its environment minister has announced.
Nicolas Hulot, appointed in May, unveiled a series of measures as part of Emmanuel Macron’s plan to make the country carbon neutral by 2050.
Poorer Households will receive a minimum premium so that they are able to swap their cars for a cleaner alternative come 2040 and beyond.
Although the French Government admits that the measures will put pressure on car manufacturers, it has noted that they currently had projects to fulfil the promise.
Volvo said on a statement on Wednesday that it planned to build only electric and hybrid vehicles from 2019.
Traditional fossil fuel vehicles account for 95 per cent of the European market but Norway is the leader of electric cars in Europe, and wants to move to electric-only vehicles by 2025, alongside the Netherlands.
Germany and India look to do the same with a target set for 2030.
Currently several French cities are under pressure and struggling to maintain air pollution levels, including Paris, which experienced several days of peak pollution in March.
Other targets set by the French environmental plan include the ending of coal power plants by 2022, reducing nuclear power to 50 per cent of total output by 2025 and ending the issuance of new oil and gas exploration licences.
According to a Bloomberg report electric vehicles will make up 54 per cent of all light duty vehicle sales by 2040, which is up from the 35 per cent figure that the research group forecasted last year.
In conversation with The Guardian, Prof David Bailey, an automotive industry expert at Aston University said: “The timescale involved here is sufficiently long term to be taken seriously. If enacted it would send a very clear signal to manufacturers and consumers of the direction of travel and may accelerate a transition to electric cars.”
Sadiq Khan, London Mayor, also welcomed the decision of the French Government and praised its strong leadership.