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China fossil fuel deadline accelerates electric car race

An electric car connects a charging pole for electric vehicles at an electric vehicle charging station outside an apartment in Beijing, China, on Monday. (EPA photo)

China will set a deadline for automakers to end sales of fossil-fuel-powered vehicles, becoming the biggest market to do so in a move that will accelerate the push into the electric car market led by companies including BYD Co. and BAIC Motor Corp.

Xin Guobin, the vice minister of industry and information technology, said the government is working with other regulators on a timetable to end production and sales. The move will have a profound impact on the environment and growth of China’s auto industry, Mr Xin said at an auto forum in Tianjin on Saturday.

The world’s second-biggest economy, which has vowed to cap its carbon emissions by 2030 and curb worsening air pollution, is the latest to join countries such as the UK and France seeking to phase out vehicles using petrol and diesel. The looming ban on combustion-engine automobiles will goad both local and global automakers to focus on introducing more zero-emission electric cars to help clean up smog-choked major cities.

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