Denmark has become the latest country to propose an eventual ban on the sale of ICE vehicles. In a speech to parliament, Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen said, “In just 12 years, we will prohibit the sale of new diesel and petrol cars. And in 17 years, every new car in Denmark must be an electric car or other forms of zero-emissions car.”
Energy minister Lars Lilleholt had announced the ban during the government’s climate council a week earlier, but did not mention a time frame.
Rasmussen said that there could be a million electric and hybrid cars on Danish roads by 2030, adding that the transition would “not be easy.” A million electrified vehicles would represent about half the current fleet of private cars in Denmark.
The new policy represents an about-face for Denmark, which saw EV sales plummet after the government began phasing out incentives in 2015. Annual plug-in sales fell from 4,762 in 2015 to 913 in 2017. Last year, EV sales represented just 0.4% of the Danish market, a pittance compared to the numbers in neighboring Sweden (5.3%) and Norway (39%).
Next week, the government will reveal a climate plan that explains how it plans to stimulate plug-in sales. This is expected to include tax incentives. Denmark has no domestic auto industry, and import taxes have reached as high as 180% in the past. The climate plan will also detail how Denmark will cut emissions from the electricity sector, which it hopes to make 100% fossil fuel-free by 2050.