Many countries outside the United States are pushing for electric vehicle adoption in order to reduce emissions, but China has just taken the biggest step yet to accelerate the transition.
China is the largest car market in the world now, and they are also a country known for heavy pollution caused by factories and auotmobiles. In order to alleviate some of that famous smog, legislation has been proposed to require 8% of all new cars in 2018 be zero emission, and 12% of all new cars to be ZEV by 2020. That's a really short timeline, but China knows more than most why this is so important.
The problem with this is that automakers from the US and Europe are not ready for that quick of a change. Most automakers do not have viable long range, quick charging vehicles planned until around 2020. Chinese automakers have already pushed forward with development of EVs, and Tesla, who is new to the Chinese market, will have a major lead.
Thanks to their emission scandals, Volkswagen is probably in the best position to push forward there, as they have already announced their 373 mile ID is due in 2020, followed by a total of 30 EV models by 2025. Ambitious goals, but that is still a long way off from China's ZEV goals. It's starting to look like Tesla and even newer startups like Faraday Future might have a better chance at breaking into the Chinese market in the next few years as traditional automakers struggle to catch up.
It sounds like maybe they should have taken EVs seriously long ago. It also sounds like the US is really missing the boat with ZEVs. We should take note from all of the other countries that are taking emmissions seriously.