Chinese authorities and the auto industry should study the timing of the phase-out of conventional fuel vehicles to guide automakers and society in an orderly transition to new energy sources, he said.

(Changan Shenlan SL03. Image credit: Shenlan)

The chairman of Chinese auto giant Changan Automobile called on policymakers to begin studying a timetable to stop selling gasoline vehicles, marking a bold call from the man at the helm of a traditional automaker.

China's auto industry has the basic conditions to stop selling fuel cars, and the matter could be on the research agenda, Changan's chairman Zhu Huarong said on August 27 at the World New Energy Vehicle Congress in Beijing.

Zhu suggested that China's authorities as well as the auto industry should study the timing of the withdrawal of traditional fuel vehicles in order to guide car companies and society as a whole to make an orderly transition to new energy sources and accelerate the spread of electrification.

However, he also pointed out that he was suggesting that the matter be put on the agenda, not that the sale of fuel cars be stopped immediately.

(Changan's chairman Zhu Huarong speaks at the World New Energy Vehicle Congress.)

The diversified technical routes of new energy vehicles (NEVs) are already very mature and basically meet the travel needs of consumers in different scenarios, according to Zhu.

China has cultivated the world's most mature NEV industry chain and built the world's largest energy replenishment network to continuously improve the environment for NEVs, he said.

China's new energy industry has moved from a technology-tasting, policy-driven stage to a mass-oriented and popular stage, and has gradually become an important force supporting the development of the auto industry, according to Zhu.

Changan, one of China's largest car companies, sold 200,911 vehicles in July, up 12.91 percent from a year earlier. It sold a total of about 1.33 million vehicles in the first seven months, down 3.78 percent from a year earlier.

Changan has not announced a timetable for discontinuing fuel vehicles of its own, as its local peer already stopped production and sales of vehicles powered entirely by gasoline in March. Last week, Great Wall Motor announced that its hot-selling Haval brand would stop selling gasoline vehicles by 2030.

Changan, however, is one of the most aggressive traditional car companies in the transition to electrification, with its NEV brand Shenlan launching its first model, the Shenlan SL03, on July 25.

The Shenlan SL03 is seen as one of the main competitors to the Model 3, and about an hour after its launch last month, Changan announced that more than 10,000 units of the Shenlan SL03 had been ordered.

Deliveries of the Shenlan SL03 were expected to begin earlier this month, but Changan announced on August 19 that production of the Shenlan SL03 would be suspended from August 15 to August 24 due to a power crunch in Chongqing, where Changan is headquartered.

"We will do everything we can to try to have the SL03 ready to start deliveries by the end of this month," Changan said at the time.

Last August, Changan and announced its new brand Avatr Technology with and , which was renamed from Changan , Changan's joint venture with NIO.

On August 8, Avatr officially launched its first model, the Avatr 11, an SUV offered in three regular versions, all with dual motors, priced at RMB 349,900 ($51,790), 369,900 and 409,900 respectively.

On August 25, Avatr Chairman and CEO Tan Benhong said orders for the Avatr 11 have exceeded 20,000 units, with deliveries scheduled to begin in December.

Although China has not issued a national timeline to stop selling fuel cars, the southernmost province of Hainan has said it will begin a complete ban on sales of conventional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles in 2030.

By 2030, the entire island of Hainan will have a complete ban on the sale of fuel-fired vehicles, a carbon-depleted implementation plan released by the provincial government on August 22 said.

Changan launches Shenlan SL03, another Tesla Model 3 competitor