China will set a date that will be the end of fossil fuel cars globally

China will set a deadline for automakers to end sales of fossil-fuel-powered vehicles, becoming the biggest market to do so in a move that will accelerate the push into the electric car market led by companies including BYD Co. and BAIC Motor Corp. The deadline date is still to be decided but current speculation is in the 2040-2050 timeframe.

Xin Guobin, the vice minister of industry and information technology, said the government is working with other regulators on a timetable to end production and sales. The move will have a profound impact on the environment and growth of China’s auto industry, Xin said at an auto forum in Tianjin on Saturday.

The world’s second-biggest economy, which has vowed to cap its carbon emissions by 2030 and curb worsening air pollution, is the latest to join countries such as the U.K. and France seeking to phase out vehicles using gasoline and diesel.

The U.K. said in July it will ban sales of diesel- and gasoline-fueled cars by 2040, two weeks after France announced a similar plan to reduce air pollution and meet targets to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit). Norway and the Netherlands are considering a more aggressive way to put an end on fossil fuel cars years earlier than its European peers.

Mercedes-Benz is the latest automaker to embrace electrification, announcing that it will be electrifying its entire vehicle lineup by 2022. Mercedes-Benz chief Dieter Zetsche said that the car maker will offer either hybrid or fully electric versions of its vehicles by 2022, adding up to a total of a minimum of 50 new electric model options by that time. Smart, meanwhile, another Daimler-owned sub-brand, will go fully electric by 2020.

Volkswagen AG plans to build electric versions of all 300 models in the 12-brand group’s lineup. The German auto giant laid out the enormity of the task ahead, vowing to spend 20 billion euros ($24 billion) by 2030 to roll out the cars and earmarked another 50 billion euros to buy the batteries needed to power the vehicles.

By 2025, VW aims to have 50 purely battery-powered vehicles and 30 hybrid models in its lineup, with a goal of selling as many as 3 million all-electric cars by then. The transformation will pick up speed after that to reach the 2030 goal as economies of scale and better infrastructure help bring down prices and accelerate sales.

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