As of this weekend, China is taking the next step in their pursuit of cleaner and more eco-friendly cities. This move comes after the news that other countries have also agreed to phase out gas and diesel vehicles in favour of electric cars: namely, the U.K. and France. The Paris Accords on climate change have played a big role in changing the stances of these governments, with more and more countries facing a growing pressure to act on their worsening greenhouse gas levels.
According to Xin Guobin, China’s vice minister of industry and information technology, China plans to end the production and all sales of cars powered by fossil fuels. He is an avid promoter of this idea: Mr. Xin spoke over the weekend at a forum focusing on the development of the automotive industry in China. The minister also announced that his ministry was working on a timeline for China and that this would most likely be implemented in “the near future”, as stated by Xinhua news agency. In addition to the proposed changes, the Chinese government has also instructed state-owned electrical and power companies to build more charging stations for electric cars, in hopes of convincing the populace of the growing feasibility and convenience of electric vehicles.
This is not the first time that the Chinese government has considered making electric vehicles the future of transportation in China, with them affirming their desire to be the world’s leading electric vehicle market back in 2010. As the owner of one of the biggest vehicle markets in the world, China produced about 28 million vehicles last year alone, with a growth rate of 13.7% in sales. China is also the country that produces the most vehicles powered by renewable energy, with over half a million being sold last year.
Automakers have jumped at this opportunity and have already begun partnering with Chinese companies in order to research, develop, and manufacture electric cars in China. The world’s largest electric vehicle manufacturer is currently located in China, in the form of a company named BYD Auto. With over 100,000 electric-hybrid units delivered in 2016, they look to be a company to watch for the future. Other major automakers such as Volvo, General Motors, Volkswagen and Nissan have also begun ramping up efforts in an attempt to successfully compete in the Chinese market.