Denmark, which generates close to half of its electricity consumption from wind energy, is the latest country to announce its intention to ban the sale of new cars with internal combustion engines by 2030. Both Britain and France have pledged to ban new petrol and diesel cars from 2040.
“In 12 years — just 12 years — we will end sales of new diesel and gasoline cars. And in 17 years every new car in Denmark must be an electric car or other forms of a zero-emission car. This means that by 2030 there will be more than 1 million hybrid, electric, or equivalent green cars in Denmark,” Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen announced during the official annual opening of the Danish parliament. Denmark’s current car population is only about two million.
“It is a big ambition, and it will not be easy to accomplish, but that’s precisely why we should try. We will only achieve this goal if the parliament is willing to work together. Denmark has to agree as a whole, as we traditionally do. This way we can also motivate other countries,” he said.
The plan will require parliamentary approval to become law and will be presented to parliament next week, Energy Minister Lars Christian Lilleholt said.
In 2017, electric vehicle (EV) sales in Denmark represented just 0.4% of the market, while Sweden’s and Norway’s were 5.3% and 39%, respectively. In 2015, 4,762 plug-in sales were registered in Denmark, but the number plunged to 1,438 and then to 913 in the following years after the Rasmussen-led government scrapped an incentive scheme in 2017. As Denmark has no domestic car industry, it imposes import taxes that have in the past reached as high as 180%.
Lilleholt announced the plan during the government’s climate council last week but did not mention a timeframe in any detail. He said the government will prepare a proposal designed to make electric cars cheaper next week as part of a wider climate policy initiative. The government may also decide to allow electric cars to drive in bus lanes to incentivise their use, Lilleholt said.
Earlier, the energy minister also announced the government’s aim to entirely phase out fossil fuels in its power sector. Denmark is known as the cradle of wind power and is home to the largest wind turbine maker Vestas and the largest offshore wind farm developer Orsted.