By 2014 hybrids and electric cars such as this Renault Zoe will be the only types available in France.

Paris - France will end sales of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040 as part of an ambitious plan to meet its targets under the Paris climate accord.

"We are announcing an end to the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2040," new ecology minister Nicolas Hulot announced on Thursday, calling it a "veritable revolution".

Hulot acknowledged that reaching the target would be "tough", particularly for automakers, but said that France's car industry was well equipped to make the switch.

The European Environment Agency ranked French brands Peugeot, Citroen and Renault first, second and third respectively on a 2016 list of large car manufacturers with the lowest carbon emissions.

Hulot, a veteran environmental campaigner, was among several political newcomers to whom president Emmanuel Macron gave top jobs in his government. 

One million electric cars

Several European countries have announced plans to dramatically reduce the amount of polluting petrol and diesel cars on their roads in favour of cleaner hybrid or all-electric vehicles. Germany aims to put one million electric cars on the road by 2020.

In 2016, hybrid and electric cars accounted for 3.6 percent of new cars registered in Western Europe.

Agence France-Presse

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