It’s been an interesting year for electric vehicles. Thanks to cheap gas and a surge in popularity of crossovers and SUVs, demand has plateaued for popular models, such as the Toyota Prius and Tesla Model S, while other models, such as the Nissan Leaf, are struggling to attract any buyers at all. You would be forgiven for thinking the green-car push that gained so much momentum at the beginning of the decade is beginning to lose steam.
But the reality of the situation is much more complex. Gas might be cheap now, but it’s still a finite resource. And, as anyone who lived through the 1970s or 2000s knows, once there’s a shortage of dino juice, it affects just about every aspect of daily life. Plus, with the effects of climate change gaining widespread acceptance, officials are beginning to crash the boards to curb pollution as quickly as possible.
That’s why automakers and nations alike are finally making plans for a fossil fuel-free future. Volvo has recently announced starting in 2019, every new model it introduces will either be a hybrid or EV. Just a few days later, France announced by 2040, it will ban gas-powered vehicles from the country. If those steps sound like a massive undertaking, that’s because they are.
So despite the glut of big people-movers on the road today, their days might be numbered. On the heels of Volvo’s big announcement, here’s how the move to hybrid and electric powertrains will change the way we drive forever.
1. Change is coming, whether we like it or not
After years of legislating strict traffic laws in an attempt to curb pollution around Paris, France stunned the world with its announcement that the entire country will be finished with gas-powered cars by 2040. But it isn’t the only nation considering a move like this. Norway and the Netherlands announced in 2016 plans to ban the sale of new gas-powered cars by 2025. And Germany and India want to make the jump to all hybrids and EVs by 2030. By becoming an early adopter, Volvo might have the market cornered by then.
Next: Diesel cars are the canary in the coal mine.