China joins other nations with plan to end sales of gas and diesel cars

gas and diesel
Fesus/123RF

Following in the footsteps of a number of other countries, China has said that it, too, is making plans to end production and sales of gas and diesel vehicles in a bid to cut air pollution.

Xin Guobin, China’s vice minister of industry and IT, announced at an auto forum over the weekend that the government is currently working on a timetable to phase out sales. No specific date was mentioned, though Guobin said the policy would be launched “in the near future.”

The move to end gas and diesel production in the world’s biggest car market should provide a major boost to automakers as they increasingly turn their attention toward the design and development of greener, electric vehicles.

Earlier this year China predicted sales of more than 800,000 green-energy vehicles in 2017, marking an increase of nearly 60 percent on a year earlier.

Pollution from vehicles and industrial plants is a huge issue in China’s biggest cities. The capital, Beijing, for example, imposes restrictions on drivers when pollution reaches hazardous levels. This involves ordering half of all vehicles off the city’s roads as part of an alternate-day travel scheme.

China’s announcement to end sales of gas and diesel cars follows similar moves by other nations who are also looking for ways to drastically reduce air pollution.

The Netherlands and Norway, for example, plan to end sales in 2025, while Germany is planning to do the same in 2030. The U.K. and France have each announced plans to ban sales of fossil fuel vehicles by 2040.

Opportunity

Automakers aiming to succeed in China’s green-vehicle market include Ford, which next year will offer its first hybrid vehicle to drivers in the giant Asian country, and Swedish firm Volvo, which is set to launch its first all-electric car in the country two years from now. The compact car will also be manufactured in China and exported to markets around the world.

“Volvo Cars fully supports the Chinese government’s call for cleaner air as outlined in the latest five-year plan,” chairman of Volvo Cars Hakan Samuelsson said earlier this year, adding, “It is fully in line with our own core values of environmental care, quality, and safety.”

Volvo also recently announced that every vehicle it launches from 2019 will include at least one electric motor as the automaker endeavors to improve the condition of the environment as well as its green credentials.