China is looking to join the growing number of countries setting bans in place for vehicles that run on fossil fuels.
This truly puts the traditional car industry on notice. China has been the world’s biggest market for passenger vehicles since 2009, and its share in the global car market is set to grow to 30 percent by 2025, according to analytics company Frontera.
China is not just the biggest car market in the world, it’s also the biggest market for electric cars, overtaking the US last year by a wide margin. China registered 336,000 electric cars in 2016, to the US’s 159,620.
Chinese officials have not yet given a timeline for when the ban will take place.
“Some countries have made a timeline for when to stop the production and sales of traditional fuel cars,” said industry vice-minister Xin Guobin, quoted in an article on official news website Xinhua and reported by Reuters.
“The ministry has also started relevant research and will make such a timeline with relevant departments. Those measures will certainly bring profound changes for our car industry’s development.”
Other countries have already announced bans on fossil fuel vehicles. The UK and France have both pledged a deadline of 2040. India plans to have only electric cars on its roads by 2030, and Norway, who was the first to make such an announcement in June 2016, plans to be selling only electric vehicles by 2025.
China has been making a strong effort to curb its fossil fuel emissions, and has already cut back on its coal consumption. Now it’s seeking to cut back on its reliance on imported oil, as the world’s second-largest consumer, behind the US.
The Chinese government has already set quotas mandating that auto manufacturers must make enough electric and hybrid vehicles to account for 12 percent of all car sales by 2020.
It has also ordered state-owned power companies to install more electric car charging stations.
Guolin predicted that the auto industry will be going through some “turbulent times,” the Xinhua report said.