BEIJING revealed at the weekend that it plans to end sales of petrol and diesel cars in favour of electric technology.
Deputy Industry Minister Xin Guobin told a car industry forum in Tianjin that his ministry has begun “research on formulating a timetable to stop production and sales of traditional energy vehicles.”
Mr Xin said that Beijing plans to “elevate new energy vehicles to a new strategic level.”
China is the biggest car market by volume, giving any policy changes additional importance for the global industry.
France and Britain announced in July that they will stop sales of petrol and diesel cars by 2040 as part of efforts to reduce pollution and carbon emissions that contribute to global warming.
Chinese leaders also want to curb oil imports and see electric cars as a promising industry in which their country can take an early lead.
China passed the US last year as the biggest electric car market, as sales of electrics and petrol-electric hybrids rose 50 per cent over 2015 to 336,000 vehicles — 40 per cent of global demand — while US sales totalled 159,620.
The government has supported electric development with substantial research subsidies and incentives to buyers but is switching to a quota system. Under proposed quotas, electrics and hybrids must make up 8 per cent of each carmaker’s output next year, 10 per cent in 2019 and 12 per cent in 2020.
State-owned power companies have been told to speed up installation of charging facilities to increase the appeal of electrics.