There were several posts about EVs and China this week.
Nissan thinks the future of the EV depends on China. Green Car Reports cites the remarks of Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn who recently told the Associated Press that when China gets serious about greenhouse gas emissions, this will bring on “the explosion of the electric car.” Both Renault and Nissan have bet heavily on electricity as the primary threat to fossil fuels.Together, Renault and Nissan have sold over 100,000 electric cars, the majority of them Nissan Leafs. A vast fleet of electric cars is a stated goal of the Chinese government’s new motor vehicle policy although how it will translate into sales is unclear.
In this regard, Xinhua reported on China’s new energy-vehicle policy. Last month the country’s Minister of Finance announced subsidies will be provided to promote new-energy vehicles from 2013 to 2015. The subsidies will be made available to manufacturers of pure electric automobiles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and fuel cell vehicles. The buyers of these EVs are expected to be government organizations, public institutions and public transportation.
The key target regions will be mega-cities or city clusters, as they are under heavy pressure to save energy and cut emissions, for example the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei cluster, the Yangtze River Delta area and the Pearl River Delta region.
See also CleanBizAsia, China shifts gears with revamped e-vehicle policy.
Others are not so sure about China’s EV future. The Globe and Mail writes about The harsh realities of electric vehicles in China, CleanBizAsia says China will still struggle to meet green vehicles sales target, and Quartz believes Even the Chinese government can’t command progress on electric cars. China is now the world’s largest automotive market where last year 19.3 million new vehicles were produced. Yet even with generous cash subsidies consumers bought only 11,400 electric cars in 2012. The barriers facing potential EV drivers in China are the same as elsewhere – the lack of standardized and ubiquitous charging infrastructure, the higher sticker price compared to petroleum-powered cars, and the limited driving range provided by present battery technology. Electric cars are 30% more expensive than gasoline vehicles and a host of subsidies (totaling $10,000 per EV) are not enticing consumers to buy them. Instead, like consumers in the rest of the world, they are waiting for a significant battery breakthrough that will make it worthwhile to pay that extra premium. Notably, China’s new energy policy is dedicating over half a billion dollars on grants to auto companies to address the battery problem in hopes that it will end range anxiety.
Global Times gives advice to the Chinese government about ways to jump-start its EV market without creating barriers to foreign competition.