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China Adds More Electric-Car Subsidies, Still Ignores Hybrids

Venucia E30 (Chinese version of Nissan Leaf electric car), Guangzhou Auto Show [photo: ChinaAutoWeb]

China has launched a new round of subsidies to jump start minimal electric-car sales.

The government will offer up to 60,000 yuan (about $9,800) to buyers of all-electric, “near all-electric,” or hydrogen cars until 2015.

But hybrids aren’t included under the updated policy.

Street-level smog in Beijing

Street-level smog in Beijing

China hopes to put 5 million “new energy vehicles” on the road by 2020. According to the BBC, about 27,800 electric vehicles were in use last year–mostly buses.

The new policy is aimed at “accelerating the development of new-energy vehicles, promoting energy saving and reducing air pollution,” a government statement says.

But China has found it difficult to accomplish those goals with plug-in electric cars so far.

Despite lofty goals of dominating the electric car segment, China’s government hasn’t been able to solve the problems that have slowed the roll-out of electric cars in other markets.

Those include the limits of lithium-ion battery technology and a lack of widespread consumer commitment to electrification.

While China is the world’s largest car market (with about 18 million vehicles sold a year), its domestic car industry doesn’t make cars that meet the standards of those from established global makers.

That’s made developing electric cars tough for local makers. And outside the luxury sector, Chinese consumers are among the most price-sensitive anywhere.

Theoretically, hybrids could serve as a transitional step to electric cars.


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