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China’s Electric Vehicle Industry

BMW has released a report on its yearlong electric vehicle road test in Beijing, just days after the Chinese government rolled out a plan to boost the country’s electric vehicle industry. BMW hopes the test will facilitate the development of both its future EV models and China’s EV industry. How is China’s EV industry developing? And what are the barriers it must overcome?

Wang Wei has more.

Just a few days after China rolled out a plan to boost its underdeveloped electric vehicle industry, BMW released a report on its Mini E road test in Beijing, in BMW’s words, to facilitate the development of electric vehicles in the country. The Mini E test-drive project was launched in 2011. The project selected 50 participants in Beijing and Shenzhen to drive electric models of the Mini Cooper, or Mini E, for a year, during which time it collected information about the driving and charging habits of the drivers for the report.

Li Xiang is the Mini E project manager. He explains the test results.

“We found that the average distance traveled per day by our participants was 49 kilometers, and the travel range was 140 to 170 kilometers when the Mini E model was fully charged. And they charged their cars two to three times a week. We also surveyed our participants to find out if they thought that a travel distance of 136 kilometers per charge was acceptable, but they indicated that it was better to reach 223 kilometers per charge. As for their rating of charging places in descending order, that would be home, work and public places.”

BMW says the test results also provide solid information about the development of its electric car models i3 and i8, which will be introduced into the market later this year. BMW believes China’s EV market has great potential. Surveys have indicated that all the Mini E test drivers would purchase the model if the price tag were below 400-thousand yuan.

The Chinese government has put in place preferential policies for EV buyers, exempting them from abiding by traffic control and car purchase restrictions in cities like Beijing and Shanghai. The government is expected to soon offer EV buyers further subsidies and tax concession policies
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