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China: China charged up for electric car revolution to lighten footprint

A pioneering electric taxi project in China’s southern economic powerhouse of Shenzhen seems a success by most accounts. Passengers are enthusiastic, there have been no accidents and drivers are termed “gracious”, not a term usually applied to mainland motorists.

The pilot project, which could be replicated in other cities, underpins China’s ambitious plans to put at least 500,000 electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids on the road by 2015.

China is already the world’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels and other activities that scientists say are causing global warming.

As the world’s largest and fastest-growing car market, China’s carbon footprint can only grow.

To bolster China’s energy security, Beijing has pronounced the electric vehicle industry a top priority, earmarking US$1.5 billion (Dh5.5bn) annually for the next 10 years in the hope it can transform the country into one of the leading producers of clean vehicles.

But even with government support and the popular support of e-taxi customers, challenges remain for electric vehicles to gain broader acceptance and widespread use.
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