China made headlines around the world on Sunday when state media reported that the country is developing a timetable to end production and sales of new vehicles with gasoline engines.
While Norway, The Netherlands, France, and the U.K. have adopted different timetables for various versions of such a ban, China is both the world's most populous nation and the world's largest vehicle market.
But it's important to note that the world's second most populous nation, India, plans to do exactly the same thing.
India has 1.3 billion people, just below China's 1.4 billion people. The U.S., by contrast, has a population of roughly 300 million.
At about 3 million vehicles a year, India's market is far smaller than that of China, which last year bought about 28 million vehicles. The U.S. takes second place at 17.5 million.
Like China, India has heavily polluted air that poses health hazards in its major cities, which has become of a source of public unrest.
Smog in Dehli, India (by Flickr user Mfield)
But while China is now mulling over how it might implement an eventual ban on sales of cars with internal-combustion engines, India already has a date.
In a plan issued in May, titled "India Leaps Ahead: Transformative Mobility Solutions for All," the government think tank called the National Institution for Transforming India sets a target date of 2030 to end sales of new cars with combustion engines.
Its suggestions including limits on registration of gasoline and diesel vehicles, paired with subsidies and incentives for purchase of electric cars.
On the same Sunday that news broke of the proposed China ban, a Reuters article noted that a roadmap for electrification is expected before the end of the year.
“This is going to be a major challenge," Anant Talaulicar, managing director, Cummins India told Reuters, "but it is one we have to embrace and not duck."
Last Thursday, road transport minister Nitin Gadkari pointedly suggested that domestic vehicle makers need to start building electric vehicles, or they risk being overtaken by government policy changes.
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“Don’t get confused about policy and rules, foray into electric bikes, buses and cars," Reuters quotes him as saying. "I won’t seek your suggestions over this. You have to diversify."
Thus far, the sole Indian maker of electric cars is Mahindra, which bought startup Reva after it ran into financial troubles during the aftermath of the Great Recession.
Tata, the carmaker better known in Europe and North America for its ownership of Jaguar Land Rover, is also planning to develop electric cars after some false starts earlier in the decade in the U.K.