China is joining France and Britain in announcing plans to end sales of traditional fuel cars.
China’s industry ministry is developing a timetable to end production and sale of traditional fuel cars and will promote development of electric technology, state media on Sunday cited a Cabinet official as saying.
The reports gave no possible target date, but Beijing is stepping up pressure on automakers to accelerate development of electrics.
China is the biggest auto market by number of vehicles sold, giving any policy changes outsize importance for the global industry.
A deputy industry minister, Xin Guobin, said at an auto industry forum on Saturday his ministry has begun “research on formulating a timetable to stop production and sales of traditional energy vehicles,” according to the Xinhua News Agency and the Communist Party newspaper People’s Daily.
France and Britain announced in July they will stop sales of gasoline and diesel automobiles by 2040 as part of efforts to reduce pollution and carbon emissions that contribute to global warming.
Communist leaders also want to curb China’s growing appetite for imported oil and see electric cars as a promising industry in which their country can take an early lead.
China passed the US last year as the biggest electric car market. Sales of electrics and gasoline-electric hybrids rose 50 per cent over 2015 to 3,36,000 vehicles, or 40 per cent of global demand.
The reports of Mr Xin’s comments gave no other details about electric car policy but cited him as saying Beijing plans to “elevate new energy vehicles to a new strategic level.”