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China Pushes Electric Car Market with Hefty Subsidies and More

Starting today top Chinese automaker SAIC Motor Corp. Ltd. is offering a 13.5 percent price cut to people who buy a new hybrid Roewe 750 sedan during the five days of the Shanghai industry fair.

The offer brings the sticker price on the country's first mass-produced eco-friendly car from 236,800 yuan ($37,260), to 204,800 yuan ($32,200), according to Reuters.

The subsidy on the Roewe 750 is just one of the incentives to push the market for hybrids and electric vehicles in China, where the government wants to have 1 million cars powered by electricity on the road by 2015.SAIC's Roewe 750

BYD rolled out the first all-electric car for the country's consumer market last week in the tech-centric city of Shenzen, where buyers of the BYD e6 are eligible for double the amount of a government subsidy to speed EV sales. In the southern China city, the five-passenger BYD e6 -- a model previously available only for government and taxi fleets -- comes with a hefty price subsidy of 120,000 yuan (about $18,800) that lops off about 32 percent from a starting price of 369,800 yuan (about $58,000).

The tech region is one of five cities in China where the government is building up EV charging infrastructure and offering 60,000-yuan subsidies for electric car purchases and 50,000-yuan subsidies for hybrids. The other cities in the pilot are Shanghai, Changchun, Hangzhou and Hefei.The BYD e6.

In Beijing, electric car buyers can now bypass the city's strict license plate lottery. The measure, which became effective last January 1, is intended to  reduce traffic and pollution by requiring prospective owners of traditional autos to draw lots for a license plate before buying a vehicle.

Beijing is one of the world's top three cities for gridlock, but officials recently announced that the license plate rule will not apply to EV buyers in order to promote the purchase of electric cars.

The U.S. government also has set a target for 1 million electric cars on the highway by 2015, and EV Project is working to install more than 14,000 charging stations across the country. IKEA is among the retailers joining the efforts, GreenBiz reported this past summer.An early look at Aachen University's StreetScooter.

The Cracker Barrel Old Country Store is coming on board with charging stations at 12 locations in Tennessee. The first, a Blink DC fast-charging station, was installed yesterday at a store in Lebanon, Ten., the retailer and EV Project manager ECOtality said.

Vanderbilt University in Tennessee also has installed EV chargers -- nine of them, five of which were donated by Schneider Electric.

Rounding out recent EV news, RWTH Aachen University says its project to develop an affordable short-range EV called the StreetScooter is being crowd-sourced with dozens of industry partners. The objective is to produce a car that would cost about 5,000 euros ($7,140), have a range of 45 miles and accommodate "three-plus-one," the one being room for a child seat.

Image Credits: Top photo of Beijing CC licensed by Flickr user poeloq. Inset images courtesy of SAIC Motor Corp. Ltd., BYD and Peter Winandy for RWTH Aachen University.


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