And China could go a long way by itself in accelerating this transition. As the world’s largest auto market, China’s EV policy, which is still being formulated, could supercharge the race for EVs. The massive investments planned for EVs, combine with restrictions on dirtier forms of transportation, all done within a top-down economy, could spark rapid change. “They can order charging stations set up all over China, dictate driving and licence plate restrictions in major cities,” a western auto executive told the FT, drawing a clear contrast with what can be done in western economies.
China has several serious motivations to go big in EVs – it is the world’s largest oil importer, many Chinese cities suffer from horrific pollution, and the Chinese government also sees an opportunity in becoming a top EV manufacturer and exporter. To achieve this objective, China aims to be producing 7 million EVs per year by 2025, and will spend upwards of $60 billion on EV subsidies between 2015 and 2020, according to the FT. The potential phase out of gasoline and diesel vehicles in China will also dramatically alter the trajectory for EVs.