Beijing has doubled the quota for electric vehicle license plates. Which is interesting, considering the original quota was not met.
Actually, according to this report, the quota was expanded based on a decline in applications for electric vehicle license plates, with only 2,139 Beijingers interested. Purchasing an electric car, rather than a traditional petroleum-powered one, gives the buyer a pass on the mandatory license plate lottery, in which they only have a single-digit percentage chance of winning each month.
Beijingers' reluctance to purchase electric cars is simple: lack of infrrastructure. While transportation authorities have made a big dea of building a network of chargers between Beijing and Shanghai, they haven't been quite as diligent in setting up a similar network between, say, Dongzhimen and Guo Mao. One of the most visible electric car brands, Tesla, which has only delivered a handful of cars so far, has nonetheless been rather publicly excluded from most charging stations, as it uses a different standard for charging.
Beijing is also sweetening the offer to electric car buyers by offering the potential of free or reduced-price parking. Fear not, gas guzzlers: with fewer than 10,000 cars in the city, for the near future there is little worry that some electric upstart is going to be parking for free while you fork out for the same privilege.
The whole electric car business is still a bit of, ahem, smoke and mirrors. While cleaner in the sense that electric cars have no emissions, until China reduces its dependence on coal for power generation, then the meaningful potential gains would be minimal.
Photo: The Car Connection
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