You may have seen them, quietly zipping around town or plugged in at the corner store: Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEVs). Everywhere you turn, charging stations are establishing an increasingly prominent presence in the urban landscape as the push for a cleaner future takes center stage. In some areas, gas stations now don brand new hydrogen pumps, hinting at a shift in the automotive industry. Although a welcome advancement for many, others may be wondering why now? And what does it all mean? Sure, we hear about the dismal state of the environment, but what are the chances that the average person will no longer be stopping to fill up with gasoline (petrol), but rather to plug in their automobile, or top off with hydrogen? This change is coming faster than many may realize.
In America, the transition is a topic of constant conversation as we follow the lead of other countries paving the way for an automotive revolution. In India, the economy is soaring; however, with new industries and commuters come pollutants spewing into the air at staggering rates. One estimate indicates that India’s air is now contributing to 1.2M deaths per year. Doctors estimate that breathing the air in the capital city of New Dehli is akin to smoking 10 cigarettes per day. In China, a staggering new trend is on the rise: purchasing canned air from Australia. At $20 for 130 breaths, each pressurized can is a literal breath of fresh air in cities where stepping outside is more hazardous than beneficial. Some have gone so far as terming the smog in Beijing a “meteorological disaster.”
In an effort to combat the staggering air pollution and protect the health of its citizens, the governments of China, India, Norway, Sweden and France, to name a few, are taking a stand, mandating drastic change as early as 2020. Based on official orders from the Chinese government, ZEV sales are estimated to reach 2M by 2020 and jump to 7M by 2025, accounting for 20% of the annual auto sales in China. Other countries, such as Norway, India and France, have mandated a complete ban on the sale of all new fossil fuel vehicles by 2025, 2030 and 2040, respectively. To clarify, certain countries will no longer sell or manufacture new gasoline (petrol)-powered vehicles at all in as little as eight years. Even sooner, in a bold and unprecedented move by automaker Volvo, 100% of their new automobiles will be partially or completely battery-powered beginning in 2019 with five solely electric models hitting the streets by 2021. This is a “historic end” to building models that only have an internal combustion engine, says the company.
Automakers and countries alike are taking note of the laws being established around the globe, and a shift is happening, ushering in a new era of automotive technology. No longer complacent to look the other way, world leaders and automakers alike are acknowledging that the current standard of burning fossil fuels must change, and it must change soon to avoid further impact to our planet and increases in loss of life. With tremendous advancements in all electric-hydrogen fuel-cell technology, there is no longer a need to accept the way things have always been. Change is not only necessary, but it is available with the rise of ZEVs. Thankfully these mandates will bring about positive changes for those who need transportation as well as those who create transportation as new auto manufacturers step up to the plate, committed to being the heavy hitters for the clean automotive technology movement.
So what does this mean to you? Why do mandates in countries like China and India need to garner your attention? Because the most influential players in the global auto market are not companies, but governments. The mandates are here. The shift is happening, and it is time for every person to educate themselves about the fact that fossil fuels will one day be a thing of the past, ZEVs the way of the future. Because no one is interested in getting their fresh air out of a can from Australia.