Cars are more and more trending away from the gas-guzzling roadsters they’ve been for decades and are entering a new world order of electric vehicles. Considering the nature of the environmental impact as well as the ever-reducing cost of building these new cars, it only makes sense that we’ll see more EV four-wheelers on the road. But one country is taking things even a step further, ensuring in the near future that gas stations will be a total thing of the past. That’s because Japan just announced that they will ban all gas-powered cars in their borders.
Now before you go and just sell off all of your oil stock in a total panic, know that this initiative isn’t going to happen overnight. Officials have said the plan is to begin a gas car phase-out plan that will have them all off the road in Japan by the early 2030s (possibly 2035). That gives about a decade-plus runway to get enough electric (and other) vehicles on the road and begin removing the gas ones.
And though those who worry about the gas car’s carbon footprint are likely rejoicing at the news of Japan’s plan, not everyone is revving their proverbial engine quite as much. Toyota Chief Akio Toyoda is in fierce opposition to the initiative claiming the move to electric vehicles only would bring about the collapse of the current auto industry.
While Toyoda might be overstating things a bit, there are issues with eliminating gas cars altogether. For starters, many have posited that while the demand for electric cars is increasing, as well as the manufacturing of the vehicles, the infrastructure around maintaining all of the cars on the road isn’t keeping the same pace. Electric cars need charging stations and a country like Japan would have to greatly increase its grid power to handle a total shift over to only electric vehicles. But as of now charging stations are typically the automaker’s responsibility. If an entire country shifted away from gas, the government would likely take a more active role in their manufacturing.
All this being said, while a whole country banning gas cars in 10-15 years might seem overly ambitious, there’s no denying electric cars are only going to become more and more prevalent as we move into the future. Tesla just became the car manufacturer with the highest recorded valuation in the industry, topping $206 billion and narrowly edging out the aforementioned Toyota.
Plus, Apple just announced that they are getting back into the game as well with a goal of producing a consumer-based electric car within the next few years. That’s a lot of tech money backing this kind of car, likely making it easier for Japan to pull something like this off.
Electric cars sold more than two million units in 2019, marking about a 40% year-over-year increase. 2020 should almost definitely see a similar spike. And if more countries follow Japan’s lead we might see the number go parabolic within the decade. There’s no doubt this trend is here to say, especially if big governments are throwing their legislative weight behind the electric car.