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Nissan Banks on China Subsidies to Boost Electric Cars

Nissan Motor Co. (7201), maker of the Leaf electric vehicle, said it is targeting to win 20 percent of EV sales in China as the central government steps up efforts to cut auto emissions and reduce air pollution.

EV sales in China may rise to 100,000 to 400,000 vehicles a year by 2017 to 2018, and Nissan expects to win about a fifth of the market, according to Jun Seki, head of Nissan’s China business. Actual demand will depend on the price of EV models, consumer anxiety about their range and ease of access to charging stations, he said.

China’s central and local governments have extended subsidies, exempted EVs from license-plate restrictions and pledged to expand the network of charging stations to encourage their adoption. Vice Premier Ma Kai said last month that buyers of electric cars may be exempted from paying purchase taxes as part of expanded state measures to bolster their sales.

“China is serious about pushing the adoption of new-energy vehicles, and no other country can compare with the subsidies that it’s giving out,” Seki said yesterday at the company’s headquarters in Yokohama, Japan. “The charging infrastructure will improve as sales volumes rise.”

To cater to the expected demand for EVs, Nissan will begin selling the first electric model — the e30 — under its China-only Venucia brand this year.
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