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China and India Want All New Cars to Be Electric

September 11, 2017

The desire to kill off internal combustion is spreading. Bloomberg  reports that China plans to end the sale of fossil-fuel-burning vehicles, though it’s not yet clear when the ban will kick in. Meanwhile, Reuters explains that India plans to electrify all new vehicles by 2030, with a detailed explanation of how that will happen expected by the end of the year.

A year or two ago, that kind of news would have been practically unthinkable. But as America under the Trump administration turns its back on efforts to address climate change, India and China have emerged as unlikely icons in the battle to save the planet.

China is currently the largest electric-vehicle market in the world with a thriving electric-car industry, though there are still far fewer such cars on the roads than those powered by gas and diesel. India is further behind and still lacks a domestic battery manufacturing industry, which may make a homegrown electric-vehicle scene slower to take off.

Even so, if the two huge Asian countries do push ahead as reported and stamp out cars that run on fossil fuels, they will join the U.K. and France, which have both recently decided to outlaw the sale of new internal-combustion cars by 2040.

Such big policy shifts that, as we’ve argued before, are the only way to quickly make electric cars pervasive. A recent analysis from Bloomberg New Energy Finance suggested that electric vehicles could account for as many as half of all new cars sold by 2040. If moves like those in India and China continue to be announced, this optimistic assessment may actually stand a chance of coming true.

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