Germany wants to ban the sale of new petrol- and diesel-powered cars by 2030, leaving only electric and hydrogen vehicles in showrooms. The dramatic move comes as the country pledges to reduce its carbon dioxide output by between 80 and 95% by 2050.
This pledge will be in jeopardy unless Germany can radically reduce pollution caused by cars and other forms of transport. Germany's deputy economy minister Rainer Baake set the 2030 deadline while speaking at the Tagesspiegel newspaper climate forum in Berlin, reports Bloomberg.
"Fact is there's been no reduction at all in CO2 emissions by transport since 1990," Baake said, adding: "We don't have any answers to cut truck emissions right now but we do have answers for cars."
Those answers are coming in the form of electric cars from the likes of Tesla and BMW, but the industry is still very much in its infancy and electric cars are seen as expensive luxuries bought by a select few early adopters and fans of the technology. The rate of recent improvement suggests the electric car market will be very different by 2030, but Baake's goal is still a lofty one.
Chancellor Angela Merkel's government introduced subsidies earlier in 2016 to give financial aide to buyers of electric cars, similar to the £4,500 discount buyers receive in the UK. Electric vehicles sales are expected to increase in the wake of the Volkswagen emissions cheating scandal, where its diesel cars sold in the US were found to contain a "cheat device" which severely restricted nitrogen oxide emissions when tested, but polluted above legal levels when driven normally.
But the German market has a long way to go. According to the KBA vehicle registration authority, about 130,000 hybrid and 25,000 all-electric cars were registered in the country as of January this year, compared to 30 million petrol cars and 14.5 million diesels.
Germany's plans come just a week after Norway announced its own target of selling only electric cars by 2025. Norway is the largest market for electric cars in the world, with such vehicles accounting for 24% currently on the road.