China relaxes EV sales targets

Car makers in China will need to make sure at least 10 per cent of their annual sales in the country are electric plug-in and hybrid vehicles by 2019.

The new sales target is a slight relaxation of earlier plans from the Chinese Government to set that target for the end of this year, Reuters reports. China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said in a statement on Thursday that by 2020, the required level would be 20 per cent.

The quotas are a part of a drive by China, the world’s largest auto market, to develop its own EV market, with a long-term aim to ban the production and sale of combustion engine vehicles.

The Chinese Government appears to have heeded warnings from car makers that they would not be able to meet the strict targets initially set. Car makers petitioned the Chinese Government in June asking for leniency.

Curbing pollution is a crucial challenge for the Chinese Government and one that they hope this quota will contribute to.

Under the new rules, car makers will receive credits for EVs that can be transferred or traded. These credits will be used to calculate if firms have met the quotas.

“We welcome the Chinese auto industry’s shift towards greater adoption of NEVs and will comply with relevant regulations presented by authorities,” Ford Motor Company said in a statement responding to the announcement.

General Motors Co said it would “strive to comply with the NEV mandatory requirements”, though it added “continued joint efforts by the government and companies are essential to build broad-based consumer acceptance for NEVs”.

“GM has sufficient capacity to manufacture NEVs in China,” it said in a statement.

Japan’s Honda Motor Co Ltd said it planned to launch an electric battery car in China next year and would “try to expand our lineup of new energy vehicles” to meet the quotas.