China’s EV-Only Future: Not If, But When


China’s EV-Only Future: Not If, But When

Chinas central government is working to set deadlines to prohibit the sale of cars and vans that run on fossil fuels, an official told an automobile forum Saturday.

The government has not yet announced a date for the final ban, but Vice Minister for Industry and Information Technology Xin Guobin proposed initial targets that vehicles with electric and hybrid engines account for 8 percent of new car sales next year, 12 percent in 2020 and 20 percent by 2025. He spoke at a forum in Tianjin, China, according to numerous news outlets that cited Xinhua News, the governments official press agency.

The United Kingdom and France have already set targets to eliminate sales of conventional vehicles by 2040. The lubricant industry closely watches trends for alternatively-powered vehicles because engines powered by batteries require significantly less lubrication. Vehicles running solely on battery power do not use engine oils, though they still require transmission fluids. Plug-in hybrids still require engine oils but use smaller volumes.

China is the worlds largest automobile market and had sales of 28 million new vehicles last year, accounting for nearly one third of the worlds total. The vast majority of those vehicles are powered by gasoline or diesel, but sales of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids rose to more than 500,000 last year, a jump of more than 50 percent from 2015.

China is by far the global leader in raw numbers of electric and hybrid vehicle sales, more than doubling the total for all of Europe in 2016. Moreover, the pace of growth for those types of vehicles is faster in China than elsewhere.

Chinas government has several reasons for promoting a shift to electric vehicle power. First, officials see it as a way to reduce emissions in the countries many smog-choked cities. Second, such a transition would presumably reduce the countrys demand for oil products. China is currently the worlds second-largest consumer of such products, behind the United States, and imports large volumes of oil to meet that demand. In addition, prodding Chinese automakers to develop electric vehicle technology could make them more competitive in a global market trending in that direction.


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