Friday, 15 september 2017 | Redacción CEU
The Beijing government wants to ban the production and sale of gasoline and diesel cars, like France and the United Kingdom before announced. The second world economy decision could revolutionize the global automotive sector and be the decisive push towards the electric car transition. Are we witnessing the fossil fuel end? Will we definitely abandon diesel and gasoline to sign onto an electric future? China has gone for broke on the motor world.
Goodbye, oil! Some countries exclaimed timidly among the crowd, a few months ago. The China announcement is a proclamation at the top of its lungs. No one can ignore the news from the mouth of the largest car market in the world. The vehicles future is increasingly bound to the electric model and car manufacturers are now facing one of the biggest challenges of this century: the motor industry structural transformation.
The transition to a new model of this transcendence requires great changes: high investment disbursement, new legislation preparation to accompany the electric vehicle impulse, an infrastructure construction that supports its development, gradual transformation of the production model, change of mentality in the consumer, vehicle design adapted to the new reality,... The defiance for the Asian giant is enormous, also for the rest of the countries that follow their footsteps –which will not be few–.
For the Professor of Management and Organization of Companies at the University San Pablo CEU and Director of the Master in Automotive Companies Management of the Institute for Advanced Management, Jose Manuel Maraña, the diesel and pure gas fuel end is close. Like he recently recognized in an interview about the future and present of the sector: <<The consumption in cities and the vehicles use in large cities is an increasingly studied social and political issue and its rational use as mobility element, not as property, is unstoppable. Indeed, I reaffirm, we have a totally different perspective on the automobile coming ahead>>. Are these announcements the indicators of the beginning of the change?
The shy pioneers
France will be free of fossil fuels in its vehicles in 2040. At least that is the pretension of the measures announced in July by its Minister of Ecology, Nicolas Hulot, in order to drive the Paris Agreement. This is an ambitious task, considering that cars using gasoline as fuel reached 95.2% of the vehicle production in France during the first half of 2017, while electric cars only meant 1.2 and hybrids 3.5%.
Two weeks after the French announcement, the United Kingdom joined the push of clean energy cars. The London Government revealed that by 2040 it would ban the sale of diesel and gasoline cars to palliate environmental pollution. Some experts point out that other States like Norway, India, the Netherlands and Germany would be considering the same possibility for even before 2030.
The symptoms of the fossil fuel renunciation are becoming increasingly evident. The big European cities are betting on plans that promote the liquid hydrocarbons gradual disappearance. In Paris, diesel cars will not be able to circulate from 2020 and, for many years, vehicles that use this fuel and are prior to 1997 are vetoed in the metropolis. In some Copenhagen areas, diesel trucks need a particle filter to move. In Lisbon, there are restrictions for old vehicles. In the Netherlands, low emission areas have been created and Utrecht and Rotterdam do not allow the circulation of diesel models previous to 2001.