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Going electric: China eyes gasoline and diesel vehicle ban

China wants to ban gas and diesel cars

China lays claim to the largest traditional auto market in the world, but electric vehicle sales are already taking off there.

Mr Xin said the ministry had started research and will look to draw up a timeline with relevant departments.

In July, France and Britain said sales of gasoline and diesel vehicles would cease by 2040 as part of efforts to reduce pollution and carbon emissions.

Will China become the next country to ban conventional diesels and petrols?

To encourage the development of new-energy vehicles, subsidies of as much as half the original price are available, but in the long term such subsidies may lead to blind expansion, said Song Qiuling, a deputy section chief from the Ministry of Finance. Liu Zhijia believes a deadline after 2040 is a reasonable one given the size of China's passenger vehicle market, leaving carmakers enough time to adjust.

It remains to be seen how quickly China will terminate the selling of fossil fuel-powered vehicles in the country as the decision will have a far reaching global impact on the automobile market.

China is the world's biggest vehicle market, having made 28 million cars a year ago. Chinese-owned Volvo has said all its new auto models will have an electric motor from 2019, while Jaguar Land Rover has made the same commitmentfrom 2020.

China has already proposed a plan by which manufacturers have to increase the share of electric and hybrid petrol-electric vehicles to 12 percent by 2020.

But Bill Russo, managing director of Gao Feng Advisory Group, said the move bodes well for Chinese automakers who are already able to compete with foreign auto companies when it comes to making electric vehicles. Nicolas Hulot, France's ecology minister, stated that "the conditions are there", even though he didn't elaborate on how this plan would be enforced.

He also said VW would "work hard" to comply with the NEV quota once China implements it next year.

"The implementation of the ban for such a big market like China can be later than 2040", said Liu Zhijia, an assistant general manager at China's biggest passenger vehicle exporter, Chery Automobile Co. That is, it can happen along with similar restrictions in the United Kingdom and France.