China is preparing itself to join the likes of UK and France, and cities such as Madrid and Mexico City, by banning petrol- and diesel-powered cars in the future to cut pollution.

Reuters reports that the country, the world’s largest auto market and second largest oil consumer, has begun studying when to ban the production and sale of cars using traditional fuels, according to China’s official Xinhua news agency, citing comments by the country’s vice industry and IT minister.

“Some countries have made a timeline for when to stop the production and sales of traditional fuel cars. The ministry has also started relevant research and will make such a timeline with relevant departments. Those measures will certainly bring profound changes for our car industry’s development,” Xin said at an auto industry event in Tianjin without mentioning a date.

To combat air pollution and close a competitive gap between its younger domestic automakers and global giants, China has set goals for full electric (EV) and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) cars to make up at least 20% of auto sales by 2025. So, a complete phasing out of the internal combustion engine is some distance away, if it ever happens.

Xin said the local auto industry faced “turbulent times” over from now till 2025 to make the switch towards new energy vehicles, urging domestic car makers to adapt to the challenge and adjust their strategies accordingly.

Last month, Reuters reported that China was likely to delay implementing tough sales quotas for electric plug-in vehicles, giving automakers more time to prepare. Under the latest proposals, 8% of sales would have to be EVs or PHEVs by next year, rising to 10% in 2019 and 12% in 2020, but the rules would not be enforced until 2019, a year later than originally planned.

Delay or not, the pivot to electric is happening, and supported by growing charging infrastructure. China’s People’s Daily reports that a total of 167,000 charging piles have now been connected to the telematics platform of the State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC), making it the world’s largest electric vehicle (EV) charging network.

By linking with 17 charging station operators, the SGCC now offers more than one million kWh of power each day. The report adds that SGCC has built 5,526 charging and battery swap stations and more than 40,000 charging piles since 2006, with a fast-charging highway network that covers 121 cities in 16 provinces. The average distance between two stations is less than 50 km. The state-owned company plans to expand its own charging station count to 120,000 by 2020.

SGCC’s target is to reduce the maximum distance between charging stations to less than five km in suburban areas, less than three km in inner suburbs, and less than one km in urban areas.