China wants electric or plug-in hybrid cars - which combine electric motors and combustion engines - to account for at least one fifth of its vehicle sales by 2025.
Here are carmakers' plans for a technology that has only played a marginal role to now:
Tesla Motors Inc – 2018 could be make or break for the Californian pure-play electric vehicle maker, which just launched its first mass-market car, the Model 3. Chief Executive Elon Musk has said he intends to build 500,000 of them by 2020. That would be about six times the number of battery electric cars sold in the United States last year, based on data from the Electric Drive Transportation Association, a trade group.
Toyota - The Japanese carmaker says it wants all its vehicles to be zero emission by 2050. The company has championed its hybrid Prius and has focussed much of its efforts on hydrogen vehicle technology. But last month it said it would work with Mazda in the race to develop electric vehicles and plans to be mass producing battery-powered long range electric cars by 2020.
VW Group – Spurred on by its diesel emissions crisis, Europe’s biggest carmaker says it will roll out 80 new electric cars by 2025 across its group brands which also include Skoda, SEAT and Audi. VW Group is aiming for 2-3 million electric vehicle sales by 2025. All its models will have electric versions by 2030, by which time it expects to have invested more than 20 billion euros in the technology. The first big test will be the I.D., VW’s answer to Tesla’s Model 3.
Renault-Nissan – The French-Japanese alliance so far leads the deployment of modern electric cars - 490,000 to date - thanks to the top-selling Nissan Leaf introduced in 2010 and Renault's Zoe subcompact launched two years later. Nissan has sold 250,000 Leafs and is aiming for a fifth of its vehicles to be zero emission by 2020. But the group is also hedging its bets by developing the hybrid gasoline-electric Nissan Note e-Power.
General Motors – The U.S. automaker still makes most of its profits from selling big, gasoline powered trucks and SUVs to Americans. Its electric Chevrolet Bolt is seen as a serious contender for Tesla. Suppliers have said GM plans to build only about 20,000 to 30,000 of them annually. CEO Mary Barra says the company plans to introduce a new electric vehicle architecture before 2020.
Ford – The U.S. automaker plans to invest $4.5 billion in electric vehicles by 2020 and introduce 13 models worldwide in the next five years including a small SUV built in its home state of Michigan offering an estimated range of 300 miles on one charge. Ford has not given any electric vehicle production targets.
Daimler – Aims for 100,000 annual sales by 2020. By 2022, Mercedes plans to offer an electric version of every model it sells, with a total of at least 50 electric or hybrid models for sale. The Smart brand will stop offering combustion engined variants altogether in 2020.
BMW – A pioneer in electric cars, BMW launched the i3 in 2013 but sales have been relatively low and management has wrestled with whether to go all-out on electrification. That changed last week when the German manufacturer vowed to achieve mass production by 2025 with 12 fully electric models, with a range of up to 700 kilometres. BMW aims to deliver 100,000 electric cars this year globally.
Fiat – CEO Sergio Marchionne was for years a vocal sceptic of electric cars and their high battery costs, once telling people not to buy the electric Fiat 500e because he was losing money on each car. Then in July he told analysts he had “joined the rest of the crew”, a change of heart driven partly by the diesel emissions crisis. For now, his most concrete plans involve Fiat Chrysler’s luxury, low volume brand Maserati which he wants to be half electric by 2022.
Volvo Cars – All Volvo car models launched after 2019 will be electric or hybrids, the Chinese-owned premium manufacturer said in July, making it the first major traditional automaker to set a date for phasing out vehicles powered solely by the internal combustion engine.
(Compiled by Tom Pfeiffer and Gdynia newsroom; Editing by Mark Potter)