France will ban gasoline vehicles in 2040

PARIS - France has declared that by 2040 -- 23 years from now -- gasoline and diesel vehicles will not be sold in their country. (It's yet to be determined if owners of older gas/diesel models will be forced to turn them in.) Some speculate it's a political response to President Trump's pulling-out of the Paris Climate Agreement. Others see this happening for sure, but wonder if it will spread across Europe -- or the world.

Electric cars have advantages -- especially for those who use them only for daily commutes -- but otherwise are to date, highly limited in their ability to travel long distances. They are subject to extended charging times that can amount to several hours or more, at a time. This makes a road trip to anywhere beyond 250-300 miles a great pain. The technology is likely to vastly improve in the next two decades, which may make this concern moot, but for now it's a real problem.

Other considerations/challenges include the shipping of heavy freight via semi-trucks: it would take a lot of juice to power one for the short haul, not to mention the long-haul (where hours-long charging breaks might be required unless a network of, "pre-charged battery exchanges" were built.) Tesla says they're working to solve this problem.

Then there's the environmental impact of going electric: disposal of the highly toxic electric car batteries and production of electricity to run the car. Currently coal-fired and nuclear power plants are the primary mode worldwide for the generation of electricity. There's no universal way to trash the old batteries, which could lead to huge amounts of heavy metal seeping into ground water -- especially in developing countries. It's likely that alternative, "renewable" energy sources like wind/solar/hydro-electric will continue to improve over the years, but it'll be a slow process.

-Brooks
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