China has renewed government subsidies for three more years for private buyers of electric vehicles and plugin hybrids, but contrary to some observers’ predictions, incentives for the purchasers of conventional gasoline-electric hybrids have not been renewed. Reuters reports that the national government in Beijing said that it would provide up to 60,000 yuan ($9,800) towards the purchase of an all-electric vehicle and as much as 35,000 yuan for each “near all-electric” plug-in vehicle. The purpose is ostensibly to reduce air pollution but the policy is also expected to benefit Chinese car makers like BYD.
The revised subsidy program renews a three-year program that expired at the end of 2012. The key difference is the addition of hydrogen powered fuel cell vehicles, which will be eligible for up to a half million yuan government rebates, about $80,000. Rebates that large would likely go towards transit buses, not private automobiles.
Some analysts say that if China is to meet it’s stated national goal of having a half million hybrids and EVs on the road by 2015 and 5 million by 2020 it will probably have to announce a separate subsidy program for gas-electric hybrids. Only 27,800 alternative energy vehicles were registered in China by the end of last year, 4/5ths of which were buses, according to the state owned and managed Xinhua news agency.
A joint statement issued by China’s Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Science and Technology, the National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said that the incentives are aimed at “accelerating the development of new-energy vehicles, promoting energy saving and reducing air pollution.”