Japan has announced new plans for a 2030 ban on petrol and diesel powered passenger vehicles under a revised environmental management plan from its new Prime Minister.
Japan’s new leader, Yoshihide Suga has said he will convene a meeting this week to finalise the details of Japan’s 2030 plan to ban petrol and diesel passenger vehicles, as well as aiming to make Japan carbon neutral by 2050.
Mr Suga has said that the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry will meet this week with representatives of the automotive sector to find a pathway to an electrified and hybrid-powered fleet of passenger cars.
Currently, electric and petrol-electric hybrid vehicles make up around 29% of Japan’s 5.2 million passenger vehicle registrations each year; this is far higher than most parts of the world, with the exception of Finland and the Netherlands.
Despite its high adoption rate for hybrid and electric passenger vehicles, according to figures from the International Energy Agency, Japan is the world’s sixth-largest contributor to emissions of greenhouse gasses.
This is in part due to Japan’s reliance on coal-fired electricity generation and a massive manufacturing sector.
This has led Japan’s new Prime Minister, Yoshihide Suga, to reiterate Japan’s commitment to the Paris Climate Accord, aiming to become a carbon neutral powerhouse by the year 2050.
This looks to be in addition to a transition of its automotive fleet to hybrid and electric vehicles if and when the government announces the ban on petrol and diesel powered passenger vehicles by 2030.
The Asahi Shimbun is reporting that “officials have discussed imposing stricter fuel-consumption regulations and giving automakers subsidies and tax breaks to steer them forward manufacturing cars that do not emit carbon dioxide.”
A report from ZMEScience says that “Japan will likely seek to keep hybrid vehicles on the road considering a complete halt in production of gasoline engines would negatively affect small factories and parts-suppliers. This means the transition of transportation that doesn’t rely on polluting fossil fuels might take a longer time.”
Satoru Yoshida, commodities analyst with Rakuten Securities has told Bloomberg that “pure gasoline vehicles will likely disappear from Japanese roads by 2050,” if the Japanese government confirms the ban on petrol and diesel passenger vehicles by 2030. However, as Yoshida explains, “as long as hybrid vehicles survive, we will have some gasoline demand.”
That same report quotes Daine Loh, a renewable power analyst with Fitch Solutions who says taht “if this is indeed a Japan-wide decision and it really happens, it will definitely provide a new demand stream for power and it will be good news for utilities.” However, Loh continued to explain that in regard to an energy balance, Japan is “unlikely to see electricity consumption rise in the mid-2030s given low real GDP growth rates and an aging population.”
Japan’s most significant neighbour, China is yet to announce a firm exit date for its petrol and diesel-powered passenger vehicle fleet, but it has created a framework that would see it continue to electrify its domestic fleet. China is aiming for at least 15-25% of its vehicles manufactured in 2025 to be electric or hybrid, with this rising to anywhere between 50-60% by 2035.
Currently, China has more than 3.8 million electric vehicles on the road, which is expected to rise to 80 million by the turn of the decade. Bloomberg’s report states that the share of hydrogen cars is expected to jump form 6,000 last year to 1 million by 2030.