China plans to ban new vehicles powered by gasoline and diesel engines. The implications for the global auto industry run deep.
The move is spun as an environmental story. But it’s a major economic story as well.
China will set a deadline for carmakers to stop selling cars that run exclusively on gasoline or diesel fuel. The news was announced over the weekend by Xin Guobin, the country’s industry and information technology vice minister.
No date was given, but earlier this year Britain and France each vowed to implement such a ban by 2040. Several other European countries and India have announced their own versions, pressured in part to reduce greenhouse gases under the international Paris accord on climate.
China, which is still the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, is trying to recast itself as a global leader of environmental initiatives. Its president, Xi Jinping, has become one of the Paris accord’s most vocal advocates.
The country has another aim too. In 2010, it made clear its long-term intent to become the No. 1 nation in electric vehicle sales.
“The China market itself is pretty gigantic,” said Bill Hampton, AutoBeat Daily publisher. “This will push the China market along very quickly and certainly could create a powerhouse for exports and propel China into the global electric vehicle market.”
“Chinese regulators see the success of Tesla and other Californian companies, and want to promote the same success amongst Chinese car manufacturers,” said Sophie Lu, Beijing-based China research head for Bloomberg New Energy Finance, which analyzes energy markets.
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