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China plans to completely ban petrol and diesel cars

China is reportedly looking into the prospect of halting the production and sale of fossil fuel cars altogether, with regulators working on a timetable for when a ban could come into effect.

According to Bloomberg, the world’s second-biggest economy is aiming to establish a deadline for automakers, in what could mark the biggest shift yet towards the global use of electric vehicles.

Speaking to Chinese news agency Xinhua, China’s vice minister of industry and information technology, Xin Guobin, said the potential measures “will certainly bring profound changes for our car industry’s development”.

China is the world’s biggest car market, having made 28 million cars last year. That’s close to a third of the global total. If a ban were to come into effect, it could mean a vast swathe of the world’s car owners could pivot towards zero-emission electric vehicles.

The news comes close off the back of similar plans in France and the UK, to segue away from fossil-fuel cars and towards electric vehicles. Earlier this summer, the UK government announced plans to ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars across the country from 2040, to coincide with when all vehicles are required to be fully electric.

A similar deadline has been given by France, leading some to predict that China would also opt for a 2040 cut-off point. This has yet to be confirmed, however.

The Chinese government has already rolled out a number of measures in incentivise the manufacture of electric vehicles. This includes scope of foreign carmakers to create a third joint venture with local automakers, under the condition that it is for the development of electric vehicles. Chinese-owned manufacturer Volvo also said earlier this year that it will put electric motors in all of its new cars from 2019.

  • While details about the ban are currently up in the air, and aspects such as deadline will have a big impact on how effective it can really be, it does follow a growing number of Chinese green initiatives. This May, for example, the country finished work on the world’s largest floating solar farm.