Move to End ICE Sales



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Sunday October 15, 2017 Move to End ICE Sales While the US government is dismantling the Obama era laws that helped protect the environment, around the world other nations are beginning to take action that can only mean the end to the internal combustion engine (ICE) as a source of motive power. 


Oxford is the latest European city to move toward banning ICE vehicles in the city center, they are starting to introduce Zero Emission Zones where only zero emission vehicles will be allowed to drive.  The plan begin to ban gas and diesel powered cars, trucks, and buses from the entire city center by 2020.  One issue yet to be decided is if Plug-in Hybrids will be allowed to travel the streets in EV mode only or if they too will be banned.


What is interesting is that the move is not part of a drive to end global warming, although it will result in some reduction in the amount of CO2 produced, it is targeted as reducing the amount of oxides of nitrogen and other pollutants that have an impact on peoples health.  City Council board member John Tanner summed it up when he said "All of us who drive or use petrol or diesel vehicles through Oxford are contributing to the city's toxic air".


Paris has also announced that it plans to ban gas and diesel cars within city limits by 2030 and London is introducing an "ultra low emissions zone" which will work in a similar way to its existing congestion zone by charging a fee for gas and diesel cars to drive in this Zone.  London's congestion zone already works like this by allowing low polluting vehicles to enter the congestion zone without paying the daily fee.


The UK has already said it plans to ban the sale of gas and diesel cars by 2040 and the Scottish parliament has already said it plans to be more aggressive than the rest of the UK by targeting 2032 as the date to say goodbye to sales of ICE vehicles.  France is another major car market that plans to ban ICE vehicles by 2040.  In the case of France, with  most of its power generation coming from nuclear, the electric car will be especially good as it will be able to take up a lot of the capacity that is wasted overnight when nuclear power plants need to run but demand is low.


Other large, or potentially large car markets that have said they plan to ban sales of ICE vehicles are India and the worlds largest car market China.  A full ban by these two nations could really disrupt the worlds oil markets.


On a smaller scale the Netherlands has also said that it would phase out sales of new ICE vehicles by 2025.  Electric vehicles already have a 6.4% share of the market in the Netherlands, the second highest of any country.  Norway, where electric vehicles have a 29% market share, has also been widely reported as initiating a ban on sales of new ICE cars but it actually does not have one.  Instead they are using a carrot and stick approach with high taxes on ICE vehicles and large incentives on electric vehicles.  It appears to be working too; it was reported that 48% of car sales in September were electric.


Other countries considering an outright ban of ICE vehicle sales are Germany, Japan, Denmark, Spain, Portugal Ireland and South Korea.  California is also considering an outright ban on ICE vehicles although this is unlikely to happen as it may be slanted as an attempt to set fuel economy standards which are controlled by the Federal Government.  There is a high probability that such a law would get overturned in the inevitable law suite that would follow its passing.   I do see a possibility that individual cities may decide to take the London route and add Low Emission Zones in city centers.


Such looming laws are bound to have an impact on the automobile industry and all carmakers are now spending lots of money to develop and bring to market electric vehicles.  This can be illustrated by announcements recently made by GM and Ford who both recently came forward and laid out a future that will be more and more dominated by electrification.  GM for example recently announced that they are working on bringing 23 electric vehicles to market by 2023 with the first of these rolling out over the next 18 months.  Ford responded by saying that it will roll out 13 electric vehicles, with at least 7 of them being plug-in, over the next 5 years.


While much  of this has been driven by plans to fight global warming it appears that one of the big triggers has been the VW diesel emissions scandal.  The car makers have done a good PR job with diesel promoting it as a green alternative to reduce CO2 emissions.  Go back and read old articles in the press and you  will rarely see "Diesel" without the term "Clean" in front of it.  Look at the past 10 years or so and see how many times Green Car Journal has awarded Green Car of the Year awards to "Clean Diesel" cars.  Europe in particular embraced diesel even though many studies had linked particulate emissions to heart disease.  Then Diesel-gate struck and people began to realize that ICE cars are just not conducive to peoples health.


The move to electric vehicles has become inevitable and the outright banning of sales of ICE vehicles in major automotive markets is just one more nail in the coffin of internal combustion.  On July 24, 2003 a funeral was held for the EV1.  The EV1 was dead but the electric car lived on.  I wonder how long before we have a funeral for the ICE car?.


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