The new Ecology Minister, Nicholas Hulot, has proposed that petrol and diesel cars be phased out by 2040. Seems a long time away, but it is in fact only 23 years. In the last 20 years progress has been made with much cleaner and more economical cars, including hybrids and electric vehicles. But to replace the whole "park" of petrol and diesel cars in 20 years presents enormous problems.
With electric cars the problem of battery life and recharging are currently major inhibitors. As one commentator puts it "would you be happy to spend 90 minutes every 300 kilometres on your holiday journey to recharge?" And most of the charging points are low power; high power recharging could require many more power stations to meet the demand. And taking your car abroad could be a problem.
Obviously many technical advances in all areas will transform the industry and infrastructure over the next 20 years and it will need wide international cooperation to meet Mr Hulot's ambitious target.
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