Hybrid and electric vehicles date back to the 19th century but hadn't enjoyed mainstream popularity until recent times. Considering that the first modern hybrid—Honda's tiny Insight—only came to market in the 2000 model year, their success worldwide has been remarkable.
The gas and diesel internal combustion engine still dominates global sales, but a number of progressive and/or pollution-sensitive countries have moved to curtail their use.
One is Norway. As Business Insider reports, by 2030 only electric and hybrid vehicles will be available for purchase in the Scandinavian nation. “Norway is the most progressive country when it comes to electrification,” BI notes. In fact, the International Energy Agency states that a whopping 28 percent of Norway's 2016 automotive sales went to hybrid or electric vehicles.
The Netherlands is also tolling the bell for the ICE. Hybrid and electric vehicles made up six percent of sales in 2016, according to the IEA, and the country is accelerating to an electrified future even faster than its northern neighbor. By 2025, only electrified vehicles will be available for sale there. The Netherlands' aggressive target is not surprising, the science site Futurism credits the Dutch for taking the lead in developing transportation technology.
Even Germany, which produces more vehicles than any other nation on the continent, is looking to restrict ICE-powered cars to help it meet its Paris climate accord commitments, though details have yet to be worked out.
India has aggressive plans to only sell electric and hybrid vehicles by 2030, but BI notes that the developing giant still has a ways to go to build out its EV infrastructure.
China is also looking to enact a ban, but, like Germany, hasn't yet set a date. BI points out that China not only produces more electric vehicles than any other country, but it's citizens also buy more, including 336,000 plug-in electric vehicles (including plug-in hybrids) in 2016.
Combined, the countries above hold nearly half the world's population, but it seems unlikely America will be joining them anytime soon. Last year, less than one percent of the 17.55 million cars and trucks sold here were electric or plug-in hybrids. But, despite slow progress, there are small stirrings of change. This September, the chair of the California Air Resources Board indicated that the state is considering banning the sale of internal combustion engines as a way of cleaning its air.