Big automakers caught in slow lane by zero-emissions shift, study shows | Automotive industry

The world’s biggest carmakers are falling behind in switching to electric vehicles with just two on the required path to meet the international goal of limiting global warming to 1.5C, according to an analysis.

Tesla and Mercedes-Benz are the only companies out of 12 major automakers on track to switch to zero-emission vehicles at a pace consistent with climate goals, according to campaign group InfluenceMap.

Automakers around the world are racing to introduce new zero-carbon cars, with nearly every major brand planning to move to battery electric technology. At the same time, however, automakers are trying to keep selling their highly profitable gasoline and diesel cars.

The automakers planning the slowest adoption of zero-emission technology are the three largest Japanese producers: Toyota, Honda and Nissan, while other laggards include South Korea’s Hyundai and General Motors in the US. The analysis , based on forecasts for 2029 compiled by the data company IHS Markit, included 12 of the world’s largest automakers, although it did not include the largest Chinese manufacturers.

The switch to zero-emission vehicles is seen as crucial to the world’s transition away from polluting fossil fuels. The International Energy Agency, a respected watchdog for industry and activists, has calculated that 57.5% of global car sales must be zero emission vehicles by 2030 (equivalent to 52% by 2029). ) if you want to limit global warming to just 1.5 °C.

If the world goes beyond that goal, agreed at the 2015 Paris climate conference, the scientific consensus is that ever-increasing proportions of the globe will become uninhabitable.

Tesla, the electric carmaker led by Elon Musk, produces 100% zero-emission vehicles, while Germany’s Mercedes-Benz is on track to produce 56% battery-powered cars by 2029.

By contrast, Toyota and Honda are on track to produce just 14% and 18% zero-emission cars by 2029, according to IHS Markit, as they bet on widespread fossil fuel sales.

Ben Youriev, Program Manager at InfluenceMap, said: “A rapid scale-up of battery electric vehicles is critical to meeting global climate change targets. Almost all car manufacturers fail to keep up with the transition to zero emissions.”

There is still a chance that some of the automakers may decide to speed up their transition to electric vehicles. Regulatory changes in several markets, including the UK and the EU, and the rapidly falling cost of producing zero-emission vehicles will give manufacturers further incentive to move away from petrol and diesel.

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US carmaker Ford, which last year said it would go all-electric in Europe by 2030, called on Tuesday to ban sales of petrol and diesel cars in the EU by 2035, in a joint letter with Sweden’s Volvo. and other leading companies, including Tesco, Uber and Unilever.

A VW spokesman said the company “100% agrees that the rapid switch to electric mobility is essential to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees,” and said it plans a general share of 10-volt battery electric vehicles. “around 50%” by 2030. BMW said it plans to have at least half of all sales be fully electric by 2030. Stellantis said 100% of its car and van sales in Europe and 50% of its sales of cars and light trucks in the US will be powered by batteries by 2030.

A Nissan spokesman said the company had committed to aligning with a 1.5C scenario and its science-based targets for a sub-2C alignment had been independently validated. A Honda spokesman said it will “continue to accelerate towards electrification and carbon neutrality goals”.

The other automakers below the 1.5C threshold were also contacted for comment.

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