More drivers plugging in to electric transportation
As traditional vehicles become a problem and technology improves, motorists are increasingly making the switch
As soon as Beijing resident Lu Xinchun heard that charging stations were being constructed in his community, he decided to buy an electric car. It was almost five years since he had first applied for a gasoline car license plate, and he was still waiting.
The latest propertion of approval for gasoline car license plates in Beijing is now about 0.1 percent of applicants, while getting an electric car plate is almost problem-free as the government is encouraging residents to buy such vehicles.
Policy incentives, subsidies and charging facilities are improving, while difficulties in getting gasoline car license plates in megacities are making more Chinese consumers keen on buying electric cars, says Gao Xiaobing, assistant to the director of Shenzhen Gaogong Industry Research.
A recent report from consultancy Roland Berger said that 35 percent of all customers worldwide are considering buying an electric vehicle next time, clearly led by Asian countries (India, 65 percent, China, 60 percent and South Korea, 55 percent).
China remains world’s largest market in terms of total sales, with 180,000 vehicles sold in the first half of 2017, the report says.
In early November, a document co-issued by the People’s Bank Of China and the China Banking Regulatory Commission for the first time said that when buying electric vehicles, consumers could get loans.
Starting in 2018, buyers of electric vehicles will be able to borrow up to 85 percent of the cost from banks. The maximum loan for cars using traditional fuel is set at 80 percent.
Purchases of fossil-fuel cars and electric vehicles for commercial use will qualify for smaller loan ratios of 70 percent and 75 percent, respectively, it said.
“Even with a small amount of money in hand, I could afford to take home an electric car,” Lu Xinchun says. “Not to mention there are also subsidies. So I think it is a good deal to get an electric car. ”
China, the world’s largest auto market, sees electric vehicles as a way to ease pressure on the environment. Measures are in place to encourage their use, including tax exemptions, discounts and an order for government organizations to buy more of them.
More than 30 provinces and cities are giving further subsidy incentives to encourage consumers to choose electric over gasoline.
The State Council has said that China will build more than 12,000 new charging stations before 2020 to meet the needs of more than 5 million electric vehicles.
With the war on pollution in full swing, China has signaled its intention to join countries such as Britain and France in banning the manufacture and sale of cars running on traditional fuel.
China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology disclosed in September that the country had started research on a timetable to phase out production and sales of fossil fuel cars.
Gao says that, at present, Chinese consumers are very active in purchasing electric vehicles but they still have concerns, including the distance electric vehicles can travel, the time it takes to charge them, a lack of charging stations and a limited choice of vehicles.
“Many consumers in megacities choose to buy electric cars because it is much harder to get gasoline car license plates,” he says.
“But with more carmakers designing more products and charging facilities becoming better, electric cars will be more attractive for consumers. I think in the next few years, the trend of buying electric cars will be stronger.”