Japan, the second-biggest producer of cars in the world after China, is joining a growing list of jurisdictions that have set timed targets as to when new gas- or diesel-powered cars will no longer be allowed to be sold. According to Japanese public broadcaster NHK via Reuters, the Asian nation may be banning the sale of new internal-combustion engine (ICE) cars by the mid-2030s, opting for full EVs or hybrid vehicles only.
This falls in line with plans announced by other places such as California, the United Kingdom, and more recently, the Canadian province of Quebec, all of which have proposed a ban on selling new gas-powered cars by 2035.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga pledged in October that Japan, as a nation, would become carbon neutral by the year 2050. As for the ban on ICE cars, details appear to be vague for now but a formal target will be “finalized by the country’s industry ministry before the year is over,” a chief government spokesperson Katsunobu Kato reportedly said in a news conference.
Commitment from Japan to cut gas from its new car diet is a pretty significant step towards an all-electric future considering just how many cars the country produces. According to Statista, Japan produced 8.33 million automobiles in 2019. In comparison, the U.S. assembled just 2.51 million in the same timeframe.
While the country’s major automakers, Toyota, Honda, and Nissan, declined to give Reuters comment, most have already started electrifying their lineups significantly. Toyota, the makers of the first mass-produced hybrid, said it’s going “all-in” on plug-in hybrids and have teamed up with Subaru to develop an EV platform. Honda, which recently launched the adorable E electric car overseas, is partnering with GM on more electric vehicles in the future. Nissan, purveyors of the affordable Leaf electric car, has previously announced plans for four EVs by 2022, one of which is the 300-mile Ariya crossover unveiled over the summer.
Mazda, meanwhile, has recently entered the EV game with the MX-30, a car that will use the company’s much-loved rotary engine as a range extender. Although, if the Hiroshima firm has any plans (any at all) of bringing to market a nostalgic, Wankel-only RX sports car, it might wanna do that sooner rather than later.
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