Late last year, the mainland proposed automakers should make new energy vehicles account for 8 percent of total car fleets by 2018 despite booming demand for SUVs — first-quarter SUV sales rose 21 percent on-year to 2.4 million, according to data from the Associated Press.
At this year's Shanghai Auto Show, global brands were eager to show their adherence to Beijing's calls, while still catering to customers of the world's largest car market.
Jaguar Land Rover showcased its first all-electric SUV on Wednesday, Audi debuted its electric SUV-coupe, the E-tron Sportback, and PSA Group unveiled its Citroen C5 Aircross, a SUV with two electric motors.
Growth in SUV segments and new energy vehicles, especially electric cars, can help the Chinese car market expand 8 percent per year, Francois Provost, senior vice president and Asia-Pacific chairman at Renault, told CNBC on the sidelines of the show.
"There is a clear regulation by the Chinese government ... so the whole automotive industry is moving towards the petrol-electric vehicle."
Wednesday saw Renault premiere the RS2027 concept car, a model with electric motors that the firm hopes will be the future of Formula One race design.
Jaguar CEO Ralf Speth meanwhile told CNBC the luxury brand was focused on refining internal combustion engines, both diesel and petrol, as well as simultaneously preparing for electrification.
"This is an unbelievable time of change in the auto industry," the German executive said.