On September 9, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology announced that China has been preparing to set a deadline for automakers to stop producing cars driven by gasoline or diesel engines. China will become the seventh country, following France, the Netherlands, Germany, Norway, the United Kingdom and India, to propose a ban on production and sale of such vehicles.
In the meanwhile, China is stepping up to promote the development of new energy vehicles (NEVs), with electric vehicles as key.
Since the Chinese Government came up with a strategy to develop NEVs in 2009, the nation has made great efforts to support its electric vehicle industry, such as providing subsidies for car buyers, building an increasing number of charging piles, and adopting policies to encourage the research and development of battery technology.
According to the 2017 annual outlook report on global electric cars released by the International Energy Agency, China's electric automobile sales in 2016 accounted for 32 percent of the world's total, making it the largest electric car market.
The growth of the market has in turn driven technological development. Taking battery technology as an example, the energy density of battery power on average has increased by 30 percent, while the cost of production has been cut by 30 percent from 2016 to 2017.
China's homegrown electric automobile brands are expected to enjoy high-speed growth in the near future. But China's electric automakers still face challenges. They need to improve technologies in terms of vehicle structure, materials and production process, and control systems. Especially, a number of core technologies including high-power motors are monopolized by foreign companies.
(This is an edited excerpt of an article published in the Oriental Outlook on September 28)