China has made it clear that in no uncertain terms, it plans to be a leader in green transportation technology, pouring billions of dollars in subsidies for hybrid and electric vehicles. Even so, sales of these cars are slow.
The Chinese Government has rolled out subsidies for both car buyers, and makings. In five select cities, automakers can earn up to almost $9,000 per hybrid or EV they sell, giving them a clear incentive to make the cars. New car buyers can get anywhere from $450 up to over $8,000 per hybrid or electric car, bringing many of these vehicles into the mid-teens in term of price. Sounds awful good for a hybrid vehicle, right?
Apparently, not good enough. Changan Motors has not sold a single hybrid electric vehicle, despite having had a model on sale for most of 2010. BYD, a Chinese car company with hopes to sell EV’s in the U.S., has sold just 54 EV’s in ten months, and another 290 hybrids despite backing by Warren Buffet. Not a stellar start. Even Toyota has only sold 4,000 Prius’s this year in the whole of China.
It all comes down to cost. 89% of Chinese consumers surveyed by a Chinese company say that they aren’t really interested in advanced technology if it comes with an increased cost. Perhaps the Chinese middle-class hasn’t caught up yet, or maybe these cars aren’t being marketed right.
China is set to be a major automaker and consumer in the coming years, unseating even America in terms of cars purchased. By 2030, they could be buying upwards of 50 million vehicles per year. Perhaps if they stick to their guns, they can drive the cost of those hybrids and EV’s way, way down, and make them even more affordable.
Source: Green Car Advisor
Chris DeMorro is a writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to Hemis. You can follow his slow descent into madness at Sublime Burnout.