Germany Joins Global Group to Encourage Zero-Emission Vehicles

  • Alliance wants all passenger vehicles emission-free by 2050
  • Electric, hybrid and fuel-cell models touted at Paris talks

Germany, the largest auto market in Europe, joined a multinational group that set a goal for all passenger cars in their jurisdictions to become emissions-free by 2050.

The International Zero-Emission Vehicle Alliance, which includes 13 governmental units in Europe, the U.S. and Canada, made the announcement Thursday at the global climate talks in Paris. The group is highlighting battery, plug-in hybrid and fuel-cell technologies as keys to reducing greenhouse gases emitted by the world’s more than 1 billion vehicles.

“If we are to achieve our climate targets, the transport sector must make a greater contribution than it has to date,” German Deputy Environment Minister Jochen Flasbarth said in a statement. “We see electric mobility as the key to making passenger transport climate friendly.”

The ZEV alliance was formed in August by California, the Netherlands and Quebec to hasten the adoption of zero-emission vehicles. Since then, Norway, the U.K., Germany and seven more U.S. states, including New York and Massachusetts, have joined. The members have all been early supporters of electric-vehicle technology, with policies that have fueled consumer adoption.

California wants 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles on the roads by 2025 and is spending $200 million to build hydrogen refueling stations, while Norway exempts electric models from high vehicle taxes.

The German government’s decision to join the ZEV alliance predates the Volkswagen AG diesel-emissions scandal, and the nation’s automakers already sell electric cars. BMW AG makes the all-electric i3 and the plug-in hybrid i8. At the Los Angeles Auto Show last month, Scott Keogh, U.S. president of VW’s Audi unit, said the division has a target for electric vehicles to account for one-quarter of its U.S. sales by 2025.

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