China looks at ending sales of gasoline cars

Credit: Steffen Thoma/Public Domain

China is joining France and Britain in announcing plans to end sales of gasoline and diesel cars.

China's industry ministry is developing a timetable to end production and sale of traditional fuel cars and will promote development of electric technology, state media on Sunday cited a Cabinet official as saying.

The reports gave no possible target date, but Beijing is stepping up pressure on automakers to accelerate development of electrics.

China is the biggest auto market by number of vehicles sold, giving any policy changes outsize importance for the global industry.

A deputy industry minister, Xin Guobin, said at an auto industry forum on Saturday his ministry has begun "research on formulating a timetable to stop production and sales of traditional energy vehicles," according to the Xinhua News Agency and the Communist Party newspaper People's Daily.

France and Britain announced in July they will stop sales of gasoline and diesel automobiles by 2040 as part of efforts to reduce pollution and carbon emissions that contribute to global warming.

Communist leaders also want to curb China's growing appetite for imported oil and see electric cars as a promising industry in which their country can take an early lead.

China passed the United States last year as the biggest electric car market. Sales of electrics and gasoline-electric hybrids rose 50 percent over 2015 to 336,000 vehicles, or 40 percent of global demand. U.S. sales totaled 159,620.

The reports of Xin's comments in the eastern city of Tianjin gave no other details about electric car policy but cited him as saying Beijing plans to "elevate new energy vehicles to a new strategic level."

Beijing 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 automakers.

Under the proposed quotas, electric and hybrid gasoline-electric vehicles would have to make up 8 percent of each automaker's output next year, 10 percent in 2019 and 12 percent in 2020. Automakers that fail to meet their target could buy credits from competitors that have a surplus.

Beijing 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 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 United States, Europe and Latin America as well as in China.

Volvo Cars, owned by China's Geely Holding Group, announced plans this year to make in China for global sale starting in 2019.

General Motors Co., Volkswagen AG and Nissan Motor Co. and others have announced they are launching or looking at joint ventures with Chinese partners to develop and manufacture electric vehicles in China.

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User comments

Sep 10, 2017
I have to point out that if the Chinese are looking to encourage electric vehicles, they will need to build a grid and power generation to match. Electrical power does not appear on power lines from edict or wishful thinking alone.

Sep 10, 2017
Reality is just so damned inconvenient. The electric car unfortunately isn't ready to supply global transportation needs at 0.2% of car global sales - anymore than alternative energy (11% of global energy production - 22% max without a major energy breakthrough) is ready supply global energy needs. Major automotive companies talk a good EV game, but they know these stats as well and none of them are going to commit financial suicide by just producing EVs.

It would be far easier to reduce the global human overpopulation, than it is their consumption of energy. We are sadly working ourselves into just that circumstance.

Sep 10, 2017
I guess we will see who is right - "Jaguar Land Rover's plan is to not produce a single vehicle without an electric motor and battery from 2020 onward..." https://cleantech...nk-much/ BMW - "all models will have an electrified option by 2020 — one year behind Volvo and precisely matching Jaguar Land Rover"

Sep 10, 2017
All that's just talk.

They'll simply make engines with integrated starter-flywheels - which are already a part of the idle stop mechanism that shuts the engine down at traffic lights - and call them hybrids because they can add a slightly bigger battery and reprogram the car to use it.

That's enough to fill the letter of the law in the eventuality that they can't actually manufacture or sell millions of real EVs.

Sep 11, 2017
Historically, it has taken many decades before new energy sources suppliant new ones., even when they have significant advantages.

It is all well and good to push alternate energy sources, electric cars, etc. and I applaud the efforts. Deep penetration is still something is that is going to happen gradually over a long period of time.

Sep 11, 2017
The issue is, civilization in China goes back 3,000 years, they are aware of the long game. In the long game, renewables are absolutely superior, by developing them they'll have endless fountains of energy while countries like America of the future go dark due to ancestors who lived only for themselves. By going electric, they incentivize renewable production to facilitate this wealth. Also, a wildcard exists in the emergence of AI, and "corporations" in the Citizens United sense for real: I'm talking about wealth owning entities that actually do expect to live hundreds of years, working for their own self interest, and short term financial constructs emerging that directly translate perpetuity into the future of assets into here now wealth. All of this, plus common sense, says sustainable culture is the way to go.

Sep 11, 2017
Historically, it has taken many decades before new energy sources suppliant new ones., even when they have significant advantages

Since this was started decades ago we should be easily within reach of the sharp uptick. It's not like nations started putting up solar and wind generators yesterday.

Especially when people are starting to see the cost of not changing over adoption can be quite fast. (This may be issues like air pollution or repeated hammerings with record hurricanes.)

Sep 12, 2017
Electric cars are substantially coal fired vehicles?

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