Norway and The Netherlands started the trend a few years ago, though they're relatively tiny car markets. Then France and the U.K. joined in.

China, the world's largest new-car market by far, is doing it—though the country hasn't decided when.

All of those countries plan to ban, or work the end of, sales of new vehicles with internal-combustion engines.

DON'T MISS: 2017's most important story: internal-combustion engine ban in China

While such an idea remains unthinkable on a national level in the U.S., a bill to that effect was introduced in California in January.

Now there's pressure in some quarters to make one of the bans sooner, as The Guardian reported at the end of March.

U.K. National Grid and Nissan Leafs

U.K. National Grid and Nissan Leafs

National Grid, the single national electricity distribution network in Britain, has come out in favor of advancing the end date for sales of cars with combustion engines fully 10 years, from 2040 to 2030.

Obviously the country's electricity provider has a vested interest in advancing the spread of electric cars.

CHECK OUT: UK to ban diesel, gasoline car sales by 2040; follows France, Norway, Holland (Jul 2017)

But Graeme Cooper, National Grid’s director of electric vehicles, told a Parliamentary committee that it was confident it could provide whatever charging infrastructure and other infrastructure the conversion to electric cars would require.

Whether it had to do so for a 2030 or 2040 deadline didn't matter, he said; the company could handle the task either way.

The confident public statement underscores the increasing interest by electric utilities in plug-in electric vehicles, which they see as one way to expand their sales and services while simultaneously reducing overall carbon emissions by their customers.

In March, a number of electric utilities joined General Motors and Tesla to urge that Congress expand the income-tax credit for purchase of a plug-in electric car past its current cap of 200,000 sales per carmaker.

Unlike the U.K., the U.S. has several thousand electric utilities—but it's clear the larger and more forward-oriented ones are now deeply interested in helping to boost sales of electric cars as a core driver of their own businesses.

EDITOR'S NOTE: An earlier version of this article referred to National Grid as the U.K.'s "single national electric utility." As two readers have pointed out, it is actually an electricity distribution network, not a producer of electricity. We have updated the article and apologize for the error.