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China's electric car sales strategy: cities

Posting in Cities
Electric cars could help clear up China's smog, an incessant and widespread problem that has reduced the life expectancy of its citizens, hurt tourism, crippled its surveillance network and practically shut down Harbin, a city of 11 million people.

The problem: no one is buying them.

Back in September, the Chinese government launched a new round of subsidies for alternative energy vehicles such as electric and fuel-cell cars that originally were going to target three regions near city centers Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. The subsidies aim to boost ownership in electric vehicles, which has lagged in China because of the high cost of ownership as well as a lack of charging stations.

Now the government says it will spread out those subsidies to 28 cities in return for local efforts to boost alternative-fuel vehicle sales. The incentive program aims to encourage cities to increase sales by buying electric vehicles for its government-related organizations and institutions as well as public transportation providers, according to state-run media Xinhua.

The government reviewed an undisclosed number of applications to chose the 28 pilot cities, according to a statement (first shared by WSJ's Real Time China Report) from the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and the National Development and Reform Committee.


Thumbnail photo: Flickr user sunming.biz

— By on December 2, 2013, 9:47 AM PST

Kirsten Korosec

Contributing Editor

Kirsten Korosec has written for Technology Review, Marketing News, The Hill, BNET and Bloomberg News. She holds a degree from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. She is based in Tucson, Arizona. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure