China to ban production of petrol and diesel cars 'in the near future'
China, the world’s biggest vehicle market, is considering a ban on the production and sale of fossil fuel cars in a major boost to the production of electric vehicles as Beijing seeks to ease pollution.
The move would follow similar plans announced by France and Britain to outlaw the sale of petrol and diesel cars and vans from 2040 in order to clamp down on harmful emissions.
Xin Guobin, vice-minister of industry and information technology, told a forum in the northern city of Tianjin at the weekend that his ministry had started “relevant research” and was working on a timetable for China.
Xin said the policy would be implemented “in the near future”, according to the official Xinhua news agency.
“These measures will promote profound changes in the environment and give momentum to China’s auto industry development,” he said in remarks broadcast by CCTV state television.
“Enterprises should strive to improve the level of energy saving for traditional cars, and vigorously develop new energy vehicles according to assessment requirements,” he said.
China produced and sold more than 28m vehicles last year, according to the International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers.
The sale of new energy vehicles topped 500,000 in the world’s second-largest economy in 2016, over 50% more than the previous year, according to national industry figures.
The government introduced in June a draft regulation to compel vehicle manufacturers to produce more electrically powered vehicles by 2020 through a complex quota system.
As the measure looms, foreign vehicle manufacturers have announced plans to boost the production of electric cars in China.
Volvo will introduce its first 100% electric car in China in 2019, while Ford will market its first hybrid vehicle early next year and envisions 70% of all its cars available in China will have electric options by 2025.