2030 seems like a long way off, but it’s really just around the corner. And when the bell tolls at midnight on December 31, 2030, you may not be able to buy a gasoline- or diesel-powered vehicle in Israel. After that date, all passenger cars will be electric and all trucks will be powered by electricity or compressed natural gas, if a proposal currently under consideration gets approved by the government. A final decision is expected by the end of this year.
Are you listening Ford, GM, Mercedes, Volkswagen, and all the other legacy car makers? The sound you hear is the sound of your business model crumbling around you.
Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz tells Reuters the biggest challenge will be creating a “critical mass” of electric and CNG powered vehicles before the deadline arrives. “We are already encouraging [the transition] by funding…more than 2,000 new charging stations around the country,” he says.
The plan was set in motion one day after the United Nations issued its latest climate assessment that finds nations must do far more than they are currently doing in order to stave off warmer global average temperatures that will put the environment at risk.
Israel has recently discovered large reserves of natural gas within its borders. It intends to shut down all its coal-fired generating stations and convert them to natural gas as soon as possible. Natural gas may not be as clean as renewables like wind and solar, but its emissions are lower than those from burning coal.
In order to reach the goal, the government will “reduce taxation on electric cars to almost zero, so they are going to be much cheaper,” Steinitz says. He expects the tipping point for the Israeli transportation sector will occur around 2025, when there will be about 177,000 electric cars on Israeli roads. Today, there are less than 100. By 2030, the expectation is that there will be nearly 1.5 million EVs in the country.
“From 2030 we won’t allow anymore the import of diesel or gasoline cars to Israel,” Steinitz says. “We are forcing companies to bring electric cars to Israel and for oil and gasoline companies to shift to charging stations in their gasoline or petrol stations,” he said.
Israel has already started converting its public transportation sector to electricity. The first electric buses from BYD should begin operating in Jerusalem shortly, and Afifi Group, a transportation and tourism company based in Israel, has signed a memorandum of understanding for the purchase of 58 electric buses from Advanced Vehicle Manufacturing in the US.
Who would have thought just 5 years ago that an entire nation would consider banning the sale of new gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles? The times truly are changing.