China is well known as a heavily polluted country. In 2012, state officials announced that it would burn 15 million tons of coal by the year 2015.
However, things may have changed, as Xi Guobin, vice minister of industry and information technology, has announced that the Chinese government is looking to develop a timeline to stop the production and sales of fossil fuel vehicles. The unexpected initiative comes as a response to the criticism from citizens that live in Chinese cities struggling with heavy air pollution.
While it may seem that Chinese citizens are somewhat understanding of the government’s policies regarding pollution, the inhabitants of a growing number of cities are tired of having to wear protective masks every time they leave their homes.
While the initiative to eliminate fossil fueled vehicles has been announced, it lacks an official timeline and a regulation. Somewhat encouraging is the fact that according to representatives of the Chinese government, the state is not only considering this project to be a solution to reduce air pollution, but also an opportunity to raise the importance of electric vehicles.
China is currently the largest auto market on the planet, and the change in direction planned by the Chinese government could spark a major change in the electric vehicle market share.
This having been said, the country does seem to be planning the same changes that the UK and France are currently making, regarding the replacement of internal combustion engines with electric vehicles.
The Chinese government has already started to offer incentives for the purchase of vehicles that run on alternative fuel. This has lead to electric cars becoming cheap enough to compete with vehicles that run on conventional fuel.
While the incentives are welcomed by the people, they have sparked various political conflicts. According to the new model, carmakers must either build a percentage of alternative fuel vehicles or buy excess credits from competitors.
The new model essentially begins with forcing carmakers to shift 8% of their total car production to electric, plug-in, or hybrid vehicles in 2018. The percentage is set to go up to 10% by 2019, and grow by another 2% in the following year. It should be noted that the numbers are not set around the idea that one gas car equals one electric car.
The somewhat vague explanation that was given is that a fully electric vehicle with a long operating range will be counted as four cars, while an electric vehicle that doesn’t hit a certain minimum range will equal two cars. Finally, a hybrid vehicle will count as 1 car.
This model will not instantly eliminate the massive amount of pollution that can be found in Beijing, however, it will show carmakers that China is preparing to change its current course in order to improve the quality of life for its citizens.
The change will not only help with China’s pollution issue but will also improve its economy by enabling the country to reduce oil imports. Hopefully, the money that is currently used to buy oil will be redirected to the development of renewable energy generation methods.