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China gears up to ban new fossil fuel powered cars

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Think Progress

The largest and fastest-growing car market in the world is going to ban the sale of new gasoline and diesel cars. China has announced plans to join the rapidly expanding list of countries with plans to phase out fossil fuel-burning cars, a list that includes the UK, France, Norway, and India.

“These measures will promote profound changes in the environment and give momentum to China’s auto industry development.”said vice minister of industry and information technology, Xin Guobi, at a recent Chinese forum on cars. China has moved swiftly to be the world’s largest producer and buyer of electric cars — motivated by a desire to reduce urban air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, and oil imports.

“Some countries have made a timeline for when to stop the production and sales of traditional fuel cars,” and his ministry will do so “in the near future,” he said.

China manufactured and sold more than 28 million vehicles last year — and still only one in five Chinese people own a car, so China’s regulations have profound implications for the global car market. Foreign manufacturers are already racing to establish partnerships with Chinese companies to manufacture electric vehicles (EVs).

With subsidies up to 60 percent of an EV’s cost, Beijing has stimulated explosive growth in its EV market.

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The soaring electric car market is a huge prize for whatever countries move fast enough to become world leaders.

“More than 37 million plug-in electric vehicles are expected to be in use in 2025,” Navigant Research projected in January. By then, we should expect EVs “to be cost competitive against conventional vehicles without subsidies,” making it probable that light-duty vehicles “will eventually be electric rather than any other alternative.”

Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) forecasts that EVs will keep dropping in price after 2025 until their initial cost is lower than gasoline or diesel cars. At the same time, EVs will be much cheaper to operate–with dramatically lower fueling costs, even running on renewable power, and much lower maintenance costs.

This price flip will lead to a sales flip, with EV sales exceeding 40 million a year by 2035, according to BNEF, after which they will surpass those of petrol-powered cars.

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“Electric cars will outsell fossil fuel-powered vehicles within two decades as battery prices plunge,” BNEF projects. “turning the global auto industry upside down and signaling economic turmoil for oil-exporting countries.”

With its latest move, China is giving EVs their biggest ever, and ensuring they will be a dominate player for years to come. The only question that remains is whether the United States will adopt stronger EV policies fast enough to compete.

This article was originally published on Think Progress. Reproduced here with permission  

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  • Ren Stimpy

    Once again this bodes well for Australia to become a RHD EV manufacturing hub, to take some pressure off of the mainstream EV manufacturing countries so that they can concentrate on their own mainstream LHD EV markets. But what is our supposedly business-oriented government doing to attract RHD EV manufacturing to these shores? I reckon nothing, because they are too caught up in their own existential fluffery.

    • Roger Franklin

      Ren – Lets just all agree that given the current Govt could be treated as a “Hung Party”- seemingly unable to agree on the best way to generate power unless it involves Coal let alone supporting EV’s into the market! They are so focused on helping protect the status quo – that they cannot see that the world is changing.

      Technology has the ability to disrupt (decimate) the existing energy generators with the potential for a real time energy monitoring and trading platform where consumers can offer energy stored in EV’s and Home Storage Batteries (potentially solar or wind generated), to energy distribution companies to meet demand. This is what is being trailed in at least two countries in Europe as a way ensuring energy is available when needed. They are not trying to buy back 50 year old coal power stations or talking up building new ones!!

      However as you say – they are caught up in their own existential fluffery!

  • Joe

    This really is a no brainer for China. They are choking in their own pollution ( largely from Coalers and Combustion Engine Vehicles ) that business as usual is no longer viable. The health imperative is front and centre these days.

    • Brunel

      But why should the sale of polluting jet engines be legal? Got to be consistent.

      Just put a $2 million tax on each polluting engine – be it petrol, diesel, or jet fuel.

      • Joe

        The EU some years ago did try to put an ’emissions tax’ on air travel. But for whatever reasons the scheme was ‘suspended’ which I think is code for abandoned. The International Air Travel Association ( lobby group ? ) banged on about the proposed ’emissions tax’ violating international laws and the EU just gave up. Solution is pretty simple….amend and update those international laws, yes.

        • Brunel

          The problem was it was not a simple tax on jet fuel – that would have been great.

          It was a tax on how far the aircraft travelled! So 15 year old fuel guzzling aircraft would be taxed at the same rate as brand new 787 and A350 aircraft!

          The unelected bureaucrats in Brussels are always illogical.

          Just tax the damn fuel – coal, petrol, jet fuel, diesel, LNG.

    • Miles Harding

      China hasn’t set a date on this ban yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s something like 2030 or earlier.

      In political life cycles, the EU, UK etc 2040 date is saying ‘distant future’, so it’s sounding more like a call to inaction than a transition plan.

  • Miles Harding

    I suspect that this is rather conservative.

    Consider BNEF’s estmate that EV and ICE vehicles will reach price parity about 2025.
    (here: https://about.bnef.com/blog/electric-cars-reach-price-parity-2025/ )

    The graph in this story looks to have been drawn around the legislator’s timetable for banning of ICEs around 2040, but I would be surprised if the transition lags far behind the price parity point, of 2025 and may even lead it if petrol supplies become an issue.

  • Could we get a ban on new fossil fuel powered cars in Australia too? That would be glorious.

    • Brunel

      No. How would people get to Darwin and Alice Springs. Or the interior of WA.

      • Neil_Copeland

        Hydrogen. Fast Chargers that charge up to 80% in 30 minutes while you take a coffee break. Just because you can’t do it right now doesn’t mean it can’t be done.

        • Brunel

          Recycling eh? I think we should find people for throwing aluminium cans in the rubbish bin. It takes so much electricity to make aluminium from bauxite but not much to melt an aluminium can.

          • Neil_Copeland

            I’ve read your comment a few times and I have no idea what you’re talking about. What has recycling aluminium cans got to do with electric cars being able to drive to Alice Springs?

          • Brunel

            Your profile picture is about recycling.

      • JohnM

        Start here…You can already just about go anywhere, -and it’s only just started…
        https://myelectriccar.com.au/charge-stations-in-australia/

  • Chris Drongers

    I am a fan of the disruption theory of adoption of new technology.

    Electric cars have already been shown to be technically possible, prices are coming down to approach the wallets of the broader market, support infrastructure is appearing.

    The Chinese announcement has said that the world’s biggest new market for cars will be closed to petrol and diesel small vehicles at some point.

    Do existing car makers keep putting out new model Klugers and Excels for the USA and third world or put most of their design and tooling efforts into making electric cars for the Chinese and European markets?

    This announcement by China will have made up manufacturer’s minds for them.

    The main market switch to electric vehicles is beginning.