Beijing Plans to Drastically Increase Share of Electric Vehicles

Traffic at Night

By Jonny Wakefield

March 12, 2015

Beijing's municipal government is planning an aggressive expansion of its new energy vehicle fleet—a move that could quadruple the number of battery, hybrid and fuel cell autos on the roads of China's second largest city.

The chair of a state-owned auto company recently announced the plan to add around 30,000 new energy vehicles to Beijing's fleet of public cars, trucks and buses, CleanTechnica reports. There are currently around 10,000 on the road in the city.

It is all part of a far-reaching plan to grow the share of non-fossil fuel vehicles in China to help combat air pollution. In that vein, the Chinese power authority recently completed a network of 50 fast-charging stations between Shanghai and Beijing.

The government in Beijing is also offering subsidies for the development of EV charging stations within the city's boundaries. To stimulate the market, the national government is rolling back taxes on new energy vehicles, according to state-owned broadcaster CCTV. Around 42,800 people have purchased EVs since the exemptions were announced.

However, sales have slowed in recent months, with one automaker blaming the slow roll out of charging and maintenance infrastructure. According to the Financial Times, four brands of new-energy vehicles are available on the Chinese market.

If Beijing follows through on its EV commitment, the city would have more than five times the number of alternative fuel vehicles on the roads than in Canada, even though mass-market plug-in vehicles have been available to Canadian buyers for a little over three years. 

As of January 2014, there were around 5,800 registered in Canada. Quebec, which offers EV buyers an $8,000 rebate, led the way with 2,580 registrations. According to the Globe and Mail, eight new models will launch in the Canadian market this year.