Sign Up for My Free Newsletter Subscribe

Global State of Play: ICEV Bans & ZEV Targets

Since the inception of this service, I have been following announcements and policies related to the ban of internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEVs) and completing an annual post or report for members (see post Nov. 8, 2022; report Jan. 27, 2021; report Feb. 25, 2020). In preparing this update, I again researched actual, verifiable announcements and policies from national governments. Accompanying this report is an updated spreadsheet with a summary of each of the countries that have announced bans with links to actual government documents where applicable. This time, the spreadsheet is broken out to distinguish zero emission vehicle (ZEV) targets versus actual bans, timelines and fleet application.

We have all seen the news stories about national ICEV bans, which continue to proliferate, but what is real? Are policymakers in countries around the world formulating policies and/or plans to implement bans beyond press releases and media announcements? If so, what do those look like? Are they actual bans or are they targets? What kinds of powertrain and fuel combinations are permitted? Most policies have focused until recently on light-duty vehicles (LDVs), but what about medium- (MDVs) and heavy-duty vehicles (HDVs)? This report provides an answer to these questions.

In short, I still believe the issue of ICEV bans remains one of the most overhyped issues in the transport energy space. In the early years, ban announcements lacked substance and amounted to “virtue signaling.” Outside of the EU, California, and now, the U.S. federal government, that is still much the case. Targets remain aspirational. Not so in the EU and the U.S., which are now moving to set stringent standards that would effectively compel the scale up of EVs. Another observed trend is the setting of targets for the MDV and HDV fleets in several countries for the first time.

Key Points:

  • More than 50 countries have announced an intention to set a ban ICEVs or a ZEV sales target, generally in the 2030-2040 timeframe.
  • Countries have also committed to global movements to achieve 100% sales in the LDV and MDV fleet by 2035 and in the HDV fleet by 2040. Those commitments are largely not backed up by actual, implemented policy.
  • ZEV targets versus ICEV bans matter. ZEV targets that do not specify the powertrain open up the possibility for zero GHG fuel combinations that are not necessarily electric vehicles such as e-fuels, hydrogen and even renewable fuels.
  • However, there is ambiguity and a lack of clarity in some countries over how the term “ZEV” is defined.
  • The U.S. government announced stringent tailpipe emission standards that are expected to lead to a massive growth in EV sales but does allow other fuel-powertrain combinations.
  • The EU finalized its CO2 standards proposal with the European Commission committing to develop a proposal for e-fuels.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email