After false starts, China reaffirms plans to phase out fossil fuels

2 min read

China on Tuesday pledged to speed up its move towards battery-powered transportation, replacing the country’s gas-powered taxis, buses, and trucks with new energy models, as a national ban on fossil fuel cars is still on the agenda.

Why it matters: This comes two years after China’s central government laid out its plans to become a  zero vehicle-emissions country.

  • Beijing shed more light this week on how China is going to proceed cautiously for a national transition to an electric fleet.
  • China broached the topic of a complete ban for the first time in late 2017, when Xin Guobin, vice-minister of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), said at a trade event that the government was working on a timetable to end the production and sale of fossil fuel cars nationwide.
  • The government initially planned to release the ban in 2030, though it was later shelved with great controversy.
  • Former science minister Wan Gang said last month that China will avoid a one-size-fits-all approach on fuel vehicles, given the country’s complicated local environment and climate situations

Details: MIIT continues to promote the development of an all-electric public transport network in some regions while prohibiting gasoline vehicles in designated areas in some cities, the ministry said last month in a written response to a proposal. The response not was released to the public until earlier this week.

  • China’s top industry regulator added that Beijing will develop the timeline for the ban on conditions that such regional trials “achieve success,” while offering support to “fuel-efficient cars,” considering the vast territory and unbalanced economic development in the country.
  • The statement came at the same time when the ministry in July amended its mandatory NEV policy to rely more on hybrid vehicles as part of its efforts to tackle environmental problems.

Context: Beijing is accelerating the move towards all-electric transportation across the country in a bid to control pollution from vehicles, while also aiming to become a world leader in technology innovation with an upscale EV industry.

  • China’s state council said they are committed to tackling pollution issues with the release of a three-year action plan in July 2018, which stated all public buses in major capital cities and economic hubs should be replaced with electric models by 2020, when overall carbon emission will be reduced by at least 15% than five years ago.