Major Automakers, 30 Countries Pledge Zero-Emission Vehicle Sales by 2040

The U.S., China and Germany, as well as Toyota and Volkwagen did not join the commitment.

November 11, 2021

Cars on Sales

GLASGOW—Six major automakers and 30 countries committed to phase out new gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles by 2040 worldwide and by 2035 in “leading markets.” The automakers include Ford, General Motors, Volvo, Mercedes-Benz, China’s BYD and Jaguar Land Rover. The countries include the world’s second-most populous country India, as well as Canada, Mexico and the United Kingdom. The automakers agreed to have entirely zero-emissions new car and van sales by 2040.

Notably missing from the pledge was China, Germany and the U.S., each of which are major car markets. Large motor groups Toyota and Volkwagen also abstained from the pact. California, New York and Washington state signed the pledge, along with the South Korean capital Seoul and Brazil’s Sao Paolo. Uber is also on board, as well as food retailer Sainsbury’s.

The pledge, called The Glasgow Declaration on Zero Emission Cars and Vans, was made in Glasgow at COP26. The agreement says that automakers will “work toward reaching 100 percent zero-emission new car and van sales in leading markets by 2035 or earlier, supported by a business strategy that is in line with achieving this ambition, as we help build customer demand.”

In September, Ford announced plans to build a new assembly plant and three battery factories, which will produce batteries for electric vehicles. Ford is investing $11 billion in the endeavor. In May, Ford said it expects 40% of its global sales to be fully electric by 2030 and would spend $30 billion by 2025 to expand its electric lineup. Ford also plans to phase out vehicles it sells in Europe that are powered by fossil fuels. By 2026, the company will offer only electric and plug-in hybrid models there, and by 2030 all of Ford’s passenger cars will run solely on batteries in Europe.

Last month, GM announced it plans to double its annual revenue by 2030 as it transitions to an all-electric future. The automaker plans to achieve this growth through new electric vehicles as well as gas-powered cars and trucks and autonomous driving features.

However, EV charging is a barrier to EV adoption. President Biden announced an electric car plan shortly after being inaugurated to have half of all new cars sold in the United States be electric by 2030. The U.S. has about 110,000 charging stations now, and energy and auto experts say the country needs at least five to 10 times that amount to make the president’s 2030 EV plan work.

Another roadblock in the U.S. driver transition to EVs is the availability of fast chargers, which charge an electric battery in 20 to 40 minutes, but they cost tens of thousands of dollars. These types of chargers are needed so EV drivers will be assured they won’t be caught with a dead battery and not near a charging station. NACS Magazine recently covered the stumbling blocks in the push for the fast chargers EV drivers want in its September 2021 issue.

Additionally, the batteries in EVs are far different than the small batteries in gas-powered vehicles, and the recycling or disposing of old EV batteries is a hurdle the industry will need to scale.

In September, Michigan announced that it will build the first road in the U.S. that charges electric cars while they’re driving on it.