Beijing is introducing a new regulation requiring most automakers to sell a minimum number of new energy vehicles (NEVs – EVs and plug-in hybrids) annually from 2019, according to a report in the China Daily.

The report said the new policy from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology requires that sales of NEVs should reach a threshold equivalent to 10% of their total in 2019 and 12% in 2020.

It also said the regulation applies to car makers that produce or import more than 30,000 conventional vehicles annually, which is lower than the 50,000 threshold mentioned in a policy draft and includes more vehicle companies in the evaluation system.

If car companies fail to achieve such quotas, they will either have to buy credits from other automakers or face a fine, the ministry reportedly said, adding that the measures will be effective from April 1, 2018.

Cui Dongshu, secretary-general of the China Passenger Car Association, highlighted some relaxation from the draft. "Compared with the draft regulation, the new policy removed an 8 percent quota target for 2018, giving companies more time to expand their production capacity," Cui said.

As one of the world's largest NEV markets, about 53,000 new energy cars were sold in China in August, up 73 percent year-on-year, data from the CPCA show.

Some 500,000 NEVs were sold in China in 2016, with the government aiming for 2m a year by 2020.

The ministry said earlier this month it was working on a timetable to phase out fossil-fuel powered vehicles, though it did not specify details.