Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Could electric cars reduce China's smog?

with the issue of pollution so high on the agenda at the annual parliamentary session, some are wondering what possible solutions might be in the pipeline.

One might very well be a renewed effort to kick-start the electric car industry.

Some reports suggest that the generous subsidy scheme for battery-driven vehicles will be expanded from the present five cities to 20 more.

But so far no country in the world has succeeded in making the dream of emission-free driving a reality.

Despite the lofty ideal, the electric car has so far been a sputtering disappointment, accounting for only a fraction of 1% of global car sales.

And the same is true in China. There is an existing target to put five million on the road by 2020 but the Chinese consumer is so far very much unconvinced.
'Range anxiety'

But BYD Auto Company in the southern city of Shenzhen is just one electric vehicle maker hoping that the time is now ripe for the government to step up its efforts.

 BYD is making electric cars but as yet not selling in great numbers

The company rose to global prominence in 2008 when venture capitalist Warren Buffett bought a 9.9% stake.

He was betting that if anyone could make the technology work then China's central planners would be the ones to do it.

They have certainly tried. In Shanghai, for example, the total amount of subsidy on offer, including an exemption from the city's expensive licence plate system, is worth up to $30,000 (£20,000).
But that would still leave more than $40,000 to be paid before you could drive away in a BYD e6.

Electric cars are not cheap and buyers have worries other than price.

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