Reuters is reporting the Japanese Government is considering a UK-style ban on the sale of new internal combustion-engine vehicles by the mid 2030’s.
Japan’s new Prime Minister, Yoshihide Suga wasted no time committing in October to a zero-emissions target by 2050, after taking office in September.
With transport making up a significant percentage of emissions, it’s an obvious segment to target, particularly when the solution is obvious – electric vehicles.
Japan is also home to some of the biggest names in automotive, including the top dog Toyota, along with Honda, Daihatsu, Nissan, Suzuki, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Isuzu, as well as 2-wheel brands like Kawasaki and Yamaha.
Top selling cars this year were the Toyota Yaris, Raize (a micro SUV) and Corolla, followed by the Honda Fit.
A ban on ICE vehicles in 15 years would certainly send shockwaves through the industry, forcing their vehicle development to be cleaner and greener for the environmental health of the plan and their citizens.
If we reflect on where these brands are at in their transition to zero-emission vehicles, the story isn’t great. Toyota seems firmly committed to their path hydrogen fuel-cell technology, without any serious traction at this point, with refuelling locations well behind recharging.
When it comes to Mitsubishi, they seem like they’re stuck in short-term thinking with a commitment to hybrids, like their Outlander PHEV, which has an incredibly limited lifespan, one that would not be permitted under the new Japanese ICE ban.
Subaru looks a little more promising in what they’re saying, with plans to move to 100% electric by mid-2030, which would actually align perfectly with the timeline of Japan’s proposed ban. We are yet to see a single Subaru EV hit the road, so I do have some reservations about their ability to execute.
Honda already has the cute little Honda E electric car on the market (sadly not in Australia yet). One of the more concerning aspects of Honda’s future is that they’re relying on a co-development with GM, rather than opting to lead the development internally, we’ll have to wait and see how that pans out.
We can expect further confirmation of the timeline by the end of 2020, with the news coming via the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare and Chief Government spokesman Katsunobu Kato.
With the second of the G7 nations looking set to announce an official ban on ICE (UK, now Japan), it once again raises the question about Australia’s position. Are we simply going to follow, or are we going to stand up and be counted as a leader?
While Australia doesn’t make vehicles (there are some small-scale exceptions), we could just wait until all vehicle manufacturers start making EVs. Or we could let them know loud and clear (by way of an ICE ban) that we don’t want ICE vehicles being sold in the country. We want new, innovative technology for the future, we want electric cars.