Shanghai Dishes Out Free Plates to Green Drivers

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

The Chinese city of Shanghai is thinking of rewarding buyers of an eco-friendly alternative-energy car with a free license plate, Shanghai Daily reports via Gasgoo. Big deal, you say? In Shanghai, it is a big deal.

The supply of new registrations is limited to around 5,000 a month, and the plates are auctioned off. Supply is usually exceeded by demand by a factor of two. The cheapest car plate in Shanghai sold for around $5,000 at last month’s auction. The trend is up. In Shanghai, a plate can cost more than the car.

“We are considering offering free car licenses for new-energy vehicles that meet certain standards,” said an official in charge of promoting new-energy vehicles in Shanghai. Just avoiding the arduous auction procedure ( chronicled here) would be worth buying a plugin or hybrid.

Bertel Schmitt
Bertel Schmitt

Bertel Schmitt comes back to journalism after taking a 35 year break in advertising and marketing. He ran and owned advertising agencies in Duesseldorf, Germany, and New York City. Volkswagen A.G. was Bertel's most important corporate account. Schmitt's advertising and marketing career touched many corners of the industry with a special focus on automotive products and services. Since 2004, he lives in Japan and China with his wife <a href=""> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href=""> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.

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  • PeteMoran PeteMoran on Nov 09, 2009

    Registrations capped at 5000/mth? $5000 for a registration plate at auction? Encouraging "greener" (or perhaps more fuel efficient) vehicles? Curious. Looks like we have attempts at dramatically slowing vehicle adoption already - just like I've been saying. Maybe our guys need to have another look at their 80 cars per 1000 head of population for China. That might even be optimistic.

  • YZS YZS on Nov 09, 2009

    Peter Moran: Shanghai, being a huge city is going to have higher car density than just about anywhere else in China. No different than NYC or London trying to limit the number of cars in their city.

  • Sutski Sutski on Nov 09, 2009

    @PM "dramatically slowing vehicle adoption already" Errrr a slow down in adoption of old school "dirty" ICE cars perhaps, but they are really and directly decreasing the new vehicle entry barriers to owning a vehicle, whilst promting fewer emissions/pollution at the same time... It also costs "nothing" to not tax, and so by doing this the Govt. has created a massive economic stimulant for future EV interest and development and a future tax revenue stream on domestically produced electric power rather than foreign produced oil costs, all without spending a penny!! This will surely result in INCREASED adoption of private vehicles by the Chinese consumer (and less polluted cities to boot)...not to mention the shot in the arm this will give to companies that can and are already producing these PHEV/EV vehicles...Geely et al.....whilst simultaneously giving a kick in the shins to foreign companies that do not produce hybrids/EV's... Who said you need to use traditional import restrictions to destroy your foreign and well established (ICE) segment competitors; i.e there is now a MINIMUM $5000 direct tax on (foreign) pure ICE car registrations/ownership in Shanghai and nothing on locally produced electric cars!

  • Bertel Schmitt Bertel Schmitt on Nov 09, 2009

    @ PeteMoran: "Curious. Looks like we have attempts at dramatically slowing vehicle adoption already – just like I’ve been saying."

    This is a purely Shanghai matter and does NOT apply to the rest of China. The limitation in Shanghai is not new either, it has been in place since 1998. Shanghai has a serious traffic problem, exacerbated by the fact that it is divided by a big river. The tunnels and bridges make for mass pile-ups nearly all day and night.

    Beijing has resisted to put in similar restrictions on car registrations.