China’s middle class is surging, and a cornerstone of the middle class lifestyle has, traditionally, been the automobile. But in China the rapidly-built highway system is already plagued by days-long traffic jams, and in cities like Beijing even being able to drive your new car relies heavily on a registration lottery.
That is, unless you buy an electric car or hybrid. In 2011 automakers sold 8,159 “new energy” vehicles, 5,655 of those battery-electric vehicles while 2,713 were hybrids.The Chinese government offered up to $8,000 per electric car or hybrid sold, in addition to any regional incentives, like being able to bypass Beijings strict car registration lottery. Recently China bumped those incentives up to a maximum of over $19,000 for Chinese-built EV’s, as well as being exempt from sales tax. Regular hybrids get less-generous incentives, and a 50% sales tax break.
That should help widen the ever-increasing gap between electric and hybrid vehicle sales in China. 2012 could be China’s break-out year for electric vehicles as there are now more pure-electric options on the market, and incentives could reduce the price by half. But will China’s electric vehicle sales outpace those in the U.S.? Nissan alone sold over 8,000 LEAF electric vehicles in 2011 in a very limited number of U.S. states, with less generous subsidies.
China is positioning itself to be a world leader in green technology, and that could include electric vehicles if America remains lax in this regard.
Source: China Auto Review