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China to eventually ban petrol and diesel cars
 
Plug and go: if China follows the UK and France it would lend new force to efforts to end the reign of the internal combustion engine Photo: Bloomberg
 
China is working on a national smart cars strategy and considering a ban on the production and sale of fossil-fuel vehicles, according to policy-makers at a forum on automotive industry development.
 
It signalled that China might soon join the UK and France. Both countries recently announced they would prohibit the production of diesel and petrol cars by 2040. 
 
With the global auto industry leaning toward intelligent and electric vehicles, work has begun on a timetable to ban manufacture and sales of traditional energy cars, Xin Guobin, vice minister of industry and information technology, told a forum in Tianjin on Sunday. 
 
“Some countries have made a timeline for when to stop the production and sales of traditional fuel cars,” he said. “The ministry has also started relevant research and will make such a timeline with relevant departments. Those measures will certainly bring profound changes for our car industry’s development.”
 
Were China to adopt such a policy and provide a deadline, it would lend new force to efforts to end the reign of the internal combustion engine. 
 
Last year, China passed the United States as the biggest electric car market.
 
Producing and selling more than 28 million vehicles in 2016, the eighth year as the world's biggest producer and manufacturer, China's auto industry contributed at least one tenth of total retail sales of consumer goods.
 
It is also the largest producer of and market for new-energy vehicles, with more than 500,000 built and sold last year. There are more than a million new-energy vehicles on China’s roads, or half the world’s total.
 
To encourage the development of new-energy vehicles, subsidies of as much as half the original price are available, but in the long term such subsidies may lead to blind expansion, said Song Qiuling, a deputy section chief from the Ministry of Finance.
 
Subsidies will gradually be reduced and a new-energy credit policy introduced, Song said.
 
China has supported electric development with billions of dollars in research subsidies and incentives to buyers, but is switching to a quota system that will shift the financial burden to manufacturers.
 
Under the proposed quotas, electric and hybrid gasoline-electric vehicles would have to make up 8 percent of each maker’s output next year, 10 percent in 2019 and 12 percent in 2020. Automakers failing to meet their target could buy credits from competitors that have a surplus.
 
On June 13, the MIIT released a policy document for public opinion on fuel consumption control and new energy vehicle credits, requiring auto-makers to meet a new energy credit ratio of 8 percent in 2018, 10 percent in 2019, and 12 percent in 2020, to ease pressure on energy and environment. Xin confirmed that the policy would be put into effect in the near future.
 
Xin said the period up to 2025 will be critical for the auto industry. Energy-saving and emission reduction requirements are increasing, the development of new-energy vehicles is becoming more technically demanding and intelligent vehicles are expected to have a profound effect on the industry.
 
The government has ordered state-owned Chinese power companies to speed up installation of charging stations to increase the appeal of electrics.
 
Chinese automaker BYD Auto, a unit of battery maker BYD Ltd, is the world’s biggest electric vehicle maker by number of units sold. It sells gasoline-electric hybrid sedans and SUVs in China and markets all-electric taxis and buses in the US, Europe and Latin America.
 
Volvo Cars, owned by China’s Geely Holding Group, announced plans this year to make electric cars in China for global sale starting in 2019.
 
General Motors, Volkswagen and Nissan have said they are launching or looking at joint ventures with Chinese partners to develop and manufacture electric vehicles in China.
 
In July, France and Britain said sales of gasoline and diesel vehicles would cease by 2040 as part of efforts to reduce pollution and carbon emissions.
 
 

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