The Glasgow Declaration on Zero Emission Cars and Vans, unveiled at climate talks in the Scottish city, sees the group of countries, companies and cities committed to phasing out fossil-fuel vehicles by 2040, as part of efforts to cut carbon emissions and curb global warming. These groups have pledged to “rapidly” accelerate the transition to low-carbon emissions vehicles.
However world’s top two automakers, Toyota and Volkswagen, as well as major car markets China, the U.S. and Germany, did not sign up, highlighting the challenges in shifting to zero emissions. Stellantis Group was also missing from the latest pledge, as were other key automakers including Honda, Nissan, BMW and Hyundai.
On the other hand, the major signatories included Ford and General Motors, the world’s second-most populous country India and major corporate purchasers of vehicles including Leaseplan, which rents 1.7 million cars in 30 countries. According to GM, it is “proud to now stand alongside other companies, governments and civil society organizations to support the declaration to commit to working towards a transition to 100% zero emissions vehicles by 2035.” Ford confirmed its participation and said “It will take everyone working together to be successful.”
Volvo, Mercedes-Benz, BYD and Jaguar Land Rover, were also set to sign the commitment. Volvo has already committed to going all-electric by 2030. The Jaguar brand will become all-electric starting in 2025. Ford has said its passenger car fleet in Europe will be all-electric by 2030. Mercedes has said it will be ready to go all-electric at the end of the decade, where market conditions allow. However VW Group CEO Herbert Diess said the proposed phase-out of internal combustion engine cars by 2040 was “not doable.” He said:
“We need raw materials, new mines, a circular economy. Battery capacity and building renewable energy grids across Europe will be the bottleneck.”
VW brand has so far committed to producing only full-electric vehicles in Europe from 2035, and having a CO2-neutral fleet globally by 2050. Cars, trucks, ships, buses, and planes account for about a quarter of all global carbon emissions, data from the International Energy Agency showed, of which the bulk comes from road vehicles.
The apparent unwillingness of Germany, along with China– the world’s largest car market, and the U.S. – the world’s largest economy and second-largest car market, to join the pledge raises questions about its effectiveness. According to a German environment spokesman, the country’s government would not sign because it had not reached internal consensus on a “marginal aspect” of the pledge concerning whether fuels made from renewable energy but burned in a combustion engine could form part of the solution. Sources also said that while the U.S. is not joining the pledge, key car-buying states such as California and New York have signed up.
An auto industry source said some automakers are wary of the pledge because it commits them to a costly shift in technology but lacks a similar commitment from governments to ensure that the necessary charging and grid infrastructure would be built to support electric vehicles.
A 3d animation professional with over 20 years of industry experience having served in leading organizations & production facilities of Pakistan, an avid car enthusiast and petrolhead with an affection to deliver writings to help shape opinions. Formerly written for PakWheels as well as major publications including Dawn. Founder of CarSpiritPK.com