The Chinese government will waive a 10 per cent sales tax on electric vehicles in its latest attempt to spur consumer interest in environmentally friendly transportation.
More than 20,400 electric vehicles were sold in the first half of this year, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM), exceeding the number of pure electric cars and plug-in hybrids sold in all of 2013.
根据中国汽车工业协会(China Association of Automobile Manufacturers)发布的数据，今年上半年，中国的电动汽车销量超过2.04万辆，超过了2013年全年纯电动汽车和插电式混合动力汽车的总销量。
But in the context of the world’s largest auto market, with sales of 18m cars last year, uptake has been anaemic. Wan Gang, China’s science and technology minister, said at a briefing on Thursday that there were only about 78,000 electric vehicles – primarily public buses and taxis – on the country’s roads.
According to a notice posted on the State Council’s website, the tax will be waived from September 1 until the end of 2017. Shares in BYD, an electric carmaker based in southern China, rose 3 per cent in Hong Kong on the news. The 10 per cent sales tax, used to fund road construction, will be waived on locally produced and imported electric vehicles.
Industry executives and analysts say sales of mass market electric cars are likely to remain sluggish until charging stations and other infrastructure is in place. “Infrastructure is key,” Mr Wan said. “We need to build charging posts and stations that are close to users.”
Both Tesla and BMW will only sell their electric cars to customers who have charging facilities at either their home or workplace, and are working with property developers to install the necessary infrastructure. In May, BMW announced a small pilot charging network in Shanghai.
Tesla is introducing what it hopes will eventually become a nationwide network of solar-powered charging stations. “The lack of charging facilities is constraining the development of the electric vehicle market,” said Dong Yang, CAAM secretary-general.
The promotion of electric vehicles is in keeping with the Chinese government’s “war on pollution”, declared in March by Premier Li Keqiang. Beijing will also require all vehicles to adhere to a stricter emissions standard, known as National IV, by the beginning of next year.