Germany’s Bundesrat has passed a motion to ban internal combustion engines on the country’s roads in just 14 years. The federal council, which represents the sixteen state governments, called on the European Commission to enforce the ban across the EU.

The decision, reported by Der Speigel on Saturday (with Forbes translating), holds no legal weight and may never find itself implemented. But the fact that the motion passed in the multi-party Bundesrat is a sign that the idea may have solid support, and other elected officials have expressed interest in a ban.

Deputy economy minister Rainer Baake said in June that such a ban would be necessary to meet the country’s strict goals of reducing CO2 emissions by 80 percent before 2050. The U.S. has a similar goal, and state governments could follow Germany’s lead and enforce a similar ban on combustion engines if the idea proves effective.

Car makers like Tesla have benefitted from Norway's support for electric vehicles.
Car makers like Tesla have benefitted from Norway's support for electric vehicles.

The ban sounds strict, but for some parts of Europe, the tides are moving in this direction already. Although not a member of the EU, Norway has a high number of electric cars. In Oslo, where the city council has offered major incentives to electric car buyers, the cost of ownership works out cheaper than it does for a traditional car. There are over 14,000 cars in the city, representing 30 percent of the market. Continent-wide, electric cars are spreading: EV Obsession found over 14,000 electric car registrations in May, a 7 percent increase year-over-year.

Environmental factors could push consumers more towards electric vehicles, as evidenced in recent buying trends. According to Automotive Industry Data, the recent Volkswagen emissions scandal may have played a role in pushing Europeans away from diesel cars. The newsletter found in a report published Wednesday that western Europe’s diesel market share dropped below 50 percent in August, with sales in the Netherlands dropping nearly 13 percent. With these trends, it’s perhaps not unthinkable that a 2030 ban on emission cars could work.

Photos via Getty Images / Sean Gallup