Ford, GM, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo set 2040 as the deadline to end combustion engine cars

A group of countries, companies and cities pledged on Wednesday to phase out fossil fuel vehicles by 2040, as part of efforts to reduce carbon emissions and curb the global warming.

However, the world’s two leading automakers, Toyota and Volkswagen, as well as the main automobile markets -China, the United States and Germany-, did not adhere, which highlights the challenges posed by the move to zero emissions.

Neither China, nor the United States, Germany, Japan or India signed the pledge, in addition to Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi they weren’t on the list either.

In a separate pledge, Britain indicated that it plans to end the production of heavy diesel vehicles between 2035 and 2040.

Toyota defended its decision claiming that its current business model makes that commitment “difficult”.

Kohei Yoshida, a head of Toyota’s electric vehicle division, told AFP that there were “many ways to” approach carbon neutrality “beyond the pact.

In the Glasgow Declaration on Zero Emission Cars and Trucks, presented in the Scottish city, the groups commit to “rapidly” accelerating the transition to low-carbon vehicles, with the goal of greening leading markets by 2035.

The main signatories include Ford and General Motors, the second most populous country in the world, India, and large car buying companies, such as Leaseplan, which rents 1.7 million cars in 30 countries.

Martin Kaiser, CEO of Greenpeace Germany stated that the absence of major economies and producers was “gravely worrying”.

To end the new fossil fuels, we have to cut our dependency, “he said. That means moving from combustion engines to electric vehicles and creating clean public transport networks without delay.”

According to data from the International Energy Agency, cars, trucks, boats, buses and airplanes are responsible for a quarter of the world’s carbon emissions, mainly road vehicles.

Other adherents were the Swedish Volvo, Daimler AG Mercedes-Benz, the Chinese BYD and Jaguar Land Rover, a unit from india Tata Motors. Other signatory countries are New Zealand and Poland.

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