China has become the latest country to publicly discuss plans to ban the production and sale of gasoline- or diesel-powered vehicles. In July, both France and the UK published plans to phase out sales of conventionally powered vehicles by 2040. China will now add another nail to the coffin of the internal combustion engine. However, unlike the French or British plans, in this case there’s no target date—yet.
The news comes from an automotive policy forum in Tianjin. China’s vice minister of industry and information technology, Xin Guobin, said that his ministry has begun work on a timetable to phase out fossil fueled vehicles. The Xinhua news agency also reports that Xin told automakers they need to begin to “readjust their strategies” accordingly. For foreign car companies hoping to sell EVs in China, that will mean investing in the country, as imported vehicles come with stiff import duties attached.
Keeping EVs cheap to the consumer is very much part of the plan to get China to an all-electrified fleet. It is already leading the world when it comes to sales of electric vehicles, although EVs as a percentage of the country’s light vehicle fleet remain small. China’s government has helped increase the popularity of alternative powertrain vehicles with subsidies, and, according to Xinhua, it will continue to do so for the time being.