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Honda Motor Co. has said it will stop selling new gasoline-powered vehicles, including hybrids, worldwide by 2040, becoming the first Japanese automaker to set such a goal in response to the global trend of decarbonization.

Honda plans to gradually increase the proportion of electric and fuel cell vehicles in its total sales in major markets such as Japan, the United States, Europe and China, aiming for 40% in 2030 and 80% in 2035, it said Friday.

In Japan alone, it will raise the ratio to 20% in 2030, when it also aims to fully electrify its new cars, including gasoline-electric hybrids.

Honda, which currently sells only one EV model, the Honda e compact, said it will launch an electric minivehicle in 2024.

In North America the same year, it plans to roll out two large EV models jointly developed with General Motors Co. In China, meanwhile, it aims to release 10 EV models within the next five years.

Honda will also promote the development of advanced batteries for EVs to extend travel distance on a single charge.

To enhance the research and development of auto electrification and safety features, it will invest around ¥5 trillion ($46 billion) over the next six years.

"We will take on the challenge of achieving high goals," Honda President Toshihiro Mibe said at a news conference.

The move comes as the government is aiming to ban sales of new gasoline-only cars by 2035 in an effort to achieve its goal of reducing carbon emissions to net zero by 2050.

Automakers are increasingly sharpening their focus on green vehicles, with newcomers including IT firms joining the race.

Toyota Motor Corp. unveiled this month a plan to increase its global lineup of EVs to 15 by 2025 from the current six. Nissan Motor Co. is aiming to have all of its new vehicles in key markets be electrified by the early 2030s.

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