January 2013 NASA satellite image of air pollution near the Chinese capital of Beijing
The municipality of Beijing, China is going to be implementing traffic congestion fees on vehicles by 2017 to address increased air pollution. The plans were revealed as the city government published a five-year plan to deal with that pollution. Parking fees would also be increased and the areas where only locally registered cars and trucks are permitted to be used will be expanded. At the end of last year, Beijing had more than 5.2 million registered vehicles and city officials would like to keep that number below 6 million by 2017. Three other cities in China besides Beijing restrict new car and light truck sales, Shanghai, Gungzhou and Guiyang.
I am coming back to China after having been away for months. My trusted sidekick of many years, a lady surnamed Zhang, seeks my advice. “Bertel, we have car problems.” Uh-oh, I think, and I mentally do a review of my accounts. This smells expensive. As it turns out, the problem is bigger than what money can solve.
Ms. Zhang explains that her mother won the lottery. The Beijing license plate lottery. (Read More…)
This Beijing policeman has a hard look at this BMW X1. Not because it’s extremely dusty. A few days parked outside in Beijing, and any car looks like that. No, this car has no license plates. The plateless car has been gathering dust for a while on Beijing’s streets. (Read More…)
With a population approaching that of Australia and car sales of 700,000 new cars, or 890,000 new cars (depending on which issue of China Daily you rely more), Beijing used to be one of the most important car markets in the world’s largest car markets, China. As amply documented by TTAC, the car market in Beijing collapsed completely after city fathers ruled that new registrations have to try their luck in a license plate lottery first.
China’ top economic planners at the National Development and Reform Commission NDRC see their economic plans threatened, and are “appealing” to Beijing to change its policy. (Read More…)
Beijingers who are lucky enough to win the license plate lottery may be punished severely – if they don’t buy a car. In the beginning of the year, China’s capital instated a rule by which new car owners must enter a lottery for a license plate. Only 17,600 plates are available per month. In the latest draw, some 530,000 people did compete for the 17,600 plates. Only one out of 30 applicants could win. And what are the lucky winners doing? Most of them do nothing. In April, only 3,700 exercised their hard-won right and bought a car. At least that’s up from 2,000 in January. Now, the city is thinking about meting out harsh punishment. (Read More…)
It’s long form Saturday! Most of you probably thought you would never see the day Bertel writes a fiery manifesto for the Electric Car. Today is your day.
Yesterday, we were first to run with the story that Beijing most likely will become EV capital of the world. Not because Beijing scientists have developed the miracle battery. Not because Chinese EVs suddenly go 400 miles on a single charge. Physics did not change. Beijing changes. Months ago, new car buyers in Beijing stopped dreaming about buying a new car.That dream was shattered. Now suddenly, an EV has become the only car a new car buyer can buy and drive tomorrow. Or on Monday. If one would be on sale. Here is what happened: (Read More…)
Beijing’s media, from Beijing Youth Daily to the China Securities Journal, all report that buyers of pure plug-ins, and pure plug-ins only, will enjoy privileges the regular Beijinger can only dream of: EV buyers will not have to win the lottery to drive a car, they can drive on any day of the week, and they pay no tax. Doesn’t sound exciting to you? It could very well turn Beijing into EV city. Here is why: (Read More…)
Beijing is in a state of confusion after China’s capital drastically slashed the number of license plates available. You literally have to win the lottery to get a plate. Most winners keep the prized (but non-transferable) possession at home. Writes the party organ People’s Daily: “Only about 11 percent of those who won rights to car licenses plates through the new lottery system bought cars in Beijing in January, the first month after restrictions were implemented, according to Chi Yifeng, general manager of Beijing Yayuncun Automobile Transaction Market, the biggest car retail market in China. “ (Read More…)
Want to belong to a really exclusive club? Own a car in Beijing. Don’t have one yet? Sorry, try your luck in the license plate lottery. Out-of–towner? Don’t even think of entering downtown during rush-hour. “Vehicles that are not registered in Beijing are prohibited from entering the urban area inside the Fifth Ring Road during the two daily rush hours,” reports China Daily. Even during off-peak hours, Beijing’s capital is full of surprises for outsiders. (Read More…)
So. Yesterday, Jan 1, was the first day of the grand car rationing in Beijing, China. From now on out, only 20,000 new vehicles per month are allowed onto Beijing’s roads. (If you trade old for new, this rule doesn’t apply.) And what did Beijingers do? Take a taxi? The subway? No, they swamped the system. (Read More…)