China set to ban petrol, diesel vehicles

Last year Chinese passenger-car sales surged 16%, but the growing maturity of the world's largest auto market, coupled with January's sales-tax increase, has tempered demand this term.

While it has not yet settled on a date for the ban to come into effect, industry minister Xin Guobin told Xinhua, China's official news agency, he had started "relevant research" that "will certainly bring profound changes for our vehicle industry's development".

"The ministry has also started relevant research and will make such a timeline with relevant departments".

Electric vehicles
CC0 Pixabay Electric Vehicles to Overtake Petrol Cars With'Tipping Point in Early 2020s

Chinese authorities plan to ban the production of cars with petrol and diesel engines.

A possible ban in China, then, may act as another signal that sweeping change is coming for the auto sector - as well as indicate how seriously the country is considering a transition to energy consumption. If a ban were to come into effect, it could mean a vast swathe of the world's auto owners could pivot towards zero-emission electric vehicles.

The push for vehicles with low to zero emissions by the Chinese government is aimed at curbing pollution as well as oil imports. It is also the world's biggest market for EVs, of which 500,000 were bought and sold in China a year ago, pushing the total number of EVs on Chinese roads past the one million mark.

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Late last month, Reuters reported that China was likely to delay implementing tough new sales quotas for electric plug-in vehicles, giving global automakers more time to prepare. Volvo announced that all its cars will be electric or hybrid from 2019.

That said, China is now the world's largest market for electrified vehicles, sales of conventional hybrids, plug-ins and pure battery-electric models a year ago totaling 336,000.

Xin said any resistance to change will mean "turbulent times" for vehicle companies in coming years.

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But a plan from China could be even bigger news. France and the United Kingdom are looking at similar moves, though they may fall back slightly and include conventional or plug-in hybrids in their mandates.

On the other hand, the automakers are quite keen to manufacture electric vehicles as they look forward to sell electric or hybrid cars in the future.

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