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Europe is at war with the automobile

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Europe is at war with the automobile

Dejan Jovanovic 2 years ago

Spain, the second biggest car manufacturing country in Europe, is proposing a ban on all internal-combustion vehicles by the year 2040 – what does this mean for the future of the automobile?

In just 22 years from now – that’s only three vehicle generations – Spain is proposing to ban all petrol and diesel-engined cars, alongside countries including Germany, France and the UK in an effort to reduce harmful exhaust emissions.


So far Europe’s shouting loudest with Denmark, Italy and Norway also calling for a ban on diesels, and Ireland, Netherlands, and Belgium going along the Spanish way of thinking to outright prohibit the lot.

The idea is to incentivise electric cars, but completely  replacing internal-combustion cars might seem like a tall order at the moment – the total EV market share in Europe right now is one percent.

Countries like Spain, the second largest car manufacturing nation in Europe after Germany, will have to churn out some three million EVs per year to replace current fossil-fuelled demand. Manufacturers meanwhile are electrifying rapidly – some, like Volvo, GM, and Toyota, are going as far as pledging all-electric line-ups.

Running an old car in the future could be like running an old phone, the outdated systems bogged down by debilitating software updates

If the trend continues, driving enthusiasts might go the way of equestrians. Cars could become art, confined to galleries as exhibits of the past, and enjoyed only in reserved road circuits as an expensive pastime.    

As digitalisation increasingly takes over the cockpit space, running an old car in the future could be like running an old phone, the outdated systems bogged down by debilitating software updates.

On the other hand, there’s a reason we call them emerging markets – other parts of the world will balance the investment manufacturers continue to make towards internal combustion, and regions like the Middle East, Africa, and much of Asia are nowhere near to making the first steps necessary for an electrified mobility infrastructure.

If they keeping banning us drivers and putting AI behind the wheel, we could solve all our traffic congestion issues. And there is the only upside to all this: empty roads. Man, the irony.


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