China considers banning combustion engine: ‘Europe is too late’
China has plans to ban combustion engines. This can make a big difference because in China one third of the worldwide car production is being sold. This decision can create a momentum for the Chinese car manufacturers themselves who emphasize electric cars. And all other car manufacturers will have to follow.
Important battery supplier
China has no fixed date yet, while France and Great Britain made clear that combustion engines will be banned by 2040. Today China is a ahead in terms of electric driven cars. This year Chinese car manufacturers BYD sold 46.855 electric cars and BAIC sold 36.084 ones. For comparison, General Motors only sold 738 EV’s. China is also an important car battery supplier as it produces 55% of all car batteries on a worldwide scale.
According to Tony Verhelle, Belgian automotive journalist: “For now Chinese car manufacturers supply the local market, but when the market will be saturated they will export their cars to the rest of the world which could be a problem for German brands.”
Whether this Chinese ban on combustion engines will accelerate the end of combustion engines depends on the timing. Chinese car manufacturer Chery believes it will be after 2040. Dutch bank company ING thinks this decision will be obsolete by that time, as electric cars will be cheaper compared to combustion cars by 2035.
However, charging infrastructure has to grow with the electric car and also the supply of lithium (the most important battery component) must grow. Most European car manufacturers hesitated very long with the development of electric cars and today they have to buy their car batteries and this turnover leaves for Asia.
Car ownership will stop
According to Mark Pequeur, professor automotive technology at Thomas More college: “Car manufacturers also have to face another problem because when autonomous cars will be available, consumers will buy mobility at a provider, who decides which car to buy and no longer private owners.”
“This will reduce the total number of cars and mobility providers will buy decent cars, but the brand will be less important, which will open the door for Chinese competitors”. Pecqueur compares it to a voyage to Ibiza: you choose the airline and the class you fly in, not if it is an Airbus or a Boeing. “This will be the case with a self driving car too: it doesn’t matter whether it is a Mercedes or a Skoda.”
“We won’t own our car anymore”, says Pecqueur, “but this enables us to use cars more efficiently. Today of all cars sold only 8% is driving around on the busiest moment of the day. In stead of 5,5 million cars, 600.000 cars will be sufficient for Belgium”.