China wants to ban the production and sale of pure petrol and diesel cars in an aggressive move designed to fight its growing air pollution problem.
The world’s largest car market is mulling the decision, with the Chinese minister for industry and information tech Xin Guobin telling China’s official news agency Xinhua "Those measures will certainly bring profound changes for our car industry's development”.
The new legislation would come as a boost to plans designed to make electric and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) cars account for at least a fifth of new cars sold by 2025.
While no start date has been announced, car makers in China are expected to have to ensure 8% of their sales are for EVs or PHEVs by the end of 2018, with that figure rising to 12% in 2020.
It’s likely that the ban will mirror that of the UK, with hybrid models being the only fossil-fuelled cars available after the ban, although China is notorious for stringent EV and emissions legislation.
Earlier this year, multiple car manufacturers urged the Chinese government to reconsider its quotas for electric vehicle sales. The industry-wide letter claimed that Government-set targets of sales of plug-in hybrids and EVs of are too ambitious.
The ban is likely to come into effect ahead of the UK’s ban, to keep China ahead of the curve in EV development. 2030 for large cities like Beijing and Shanghai is reported.
Several car makers from Europe, including Jaguar Land Rover, Volkswagen and Mercedes, produce cars with Chinese partners within the country’s borders, meaning they’d have to meet those requirements. Chinese-owned Volvo announced that every model it sells from 2019 will be at least a hybrid or electric car, while Jaguar Land Rover followed suit more recently, announcing that within the same timeframe, all of its models will have at least a hybrid option. More manufacturers are expected to follow suit.
China’s plans echo those announced by the UK government earlier this year, where new pure petrol and diesel cars will be banned for sale from 2040.
Sam Sheehan and Jimi Beckwith