Infrastructure Needed to Boost Electric Car Market
    2013-02-20 11:42:12         Web Editor: Wang Wei

Auto emissions are one of the major causes of air pollution and other environmental problems. New energy automobiles such as electric cars seem to be a good solution. But sales of the vehicles do not look promising despite the Chinese government's efforts to promote this green solution during the last three years. Li Dong has more.


According to statistics, more than 27-thousand electric vehicles have been sold in the 25 cities around China that are conducting electric vehicle trials. Among the vehicles, 23-thousand are serving the public service sector, but only four-thousand four hundred have been bought by private owners.

Dong Yang, standing deputy director of China Automobile Association, says:

"There are very rare cases of individuals buying electric cars. The central government provides subsidies. But many local governments are reluctant to give the subsidy to companies outside their administration. Another reason for the problem is that the building of infrastructure support for electric vehicles such as charging piles is lagging."

Last May, the Chinese government issued policies to provide subsidies to individual electric car buyers¡ªup to 50-thousand yuan for a hybrid car and 60-thousand for a pure electric car.

In 2012, the central government also allocated more than 4 billion yuan to support the research and development of new energy automobiles, including engines, batteries and other key parts.

In Shanghai, a customer could save up to 120 thousand yuan buying a e-car, including government subsidy and free car plate. However, the number of privately owned electric cars is less than 1,000.

Yang Kai is a private car owner who once considered buying an electric vehicle.

"I counted. My expenses for the electric car would be about 12 yuan a week for recharging. If I use petrol, it's going to cost me about 300 yuan. I would save 1,000 yuan a month, or 12-thousand yuan a year, if I drove an electric car."

But Yang Kai adds that the cost of changing batteries and electric vehicle maintenance could be a big burden for individual buyers.

"I worry if the battery life expectancy is only two to three years, and I need to spend another 20 to 30 thousand yuan to get a new one. In that case, I wouldn't buy an electric car and would just buy one that runs on petrol."

The lack of infrastructure to support hybrid and electric cars is another major problem which has curtailed electric vehicle sales.

Yang Kai, for instance, says the property management company of his community cannot provide him with a parking space with an electric car battery charging pile. That's why he has ultimately lost interest in buying an electric car.

Yang says:

"I thought it would be great to have a fixed parking lot with a charging facility, but the property management company won't consider my needs. So I really don't have the desire the buy one now."

The lack of parking spaces with charging piles is the problem behind the infrastructure scarcity. The problem is especially noticeable in some old communities in urban areas.

Before all these problems are solved, it's impossible to see e-car to make up a significant part of vehicles on the road.

For CRI, I am Li Dong.


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