By on February 19, 2014


Though the municipal government in Beijing has set aside 20,000 license plates for electric vehicles in an attempt to offset their ongoing air quality woes, very few residents are interested, even if it means waiting a long time to own a gasoline-powered car.

South China Morning Post reports only 1,701 potential EV owners have filed applications for new vehicle licensing thus far. The figure is less than 0.1 percent of the nearly 1.9 million new vehicle licensing applications received by Beijing’s city government for gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles.

Though all 20,000 applications would be issued if more applicants entered their name in the lottery system used to issue licenses, most would rather wait until they received approval for a conventional vehicle. As a result, the city government recently tweaked their lottery to improve the chances of those 640,000 applicants who tried their hand over 25 times to buy and license a non-EV vehicle, resulting in a 2.4 percent chance of success for those who applied more than 37 times.

The reason for the lack of enthusiasm in Beijing for EVs? A lack of supporting infrastructure for charging the vehicles, and a perception of poor performance and unreliability overall, with taxi drivers complaining of limited range and long-wait times to charge in regards of the 1,000 taxis and the 500 charging stations in the city to keep the taxis moving.

Beijing aims to alleviate the issue by installing 1,000 stations within city limits by the end of 2014, extending into the suburbs by 2017. City officials also aim to bring 1.7 million EVs to the road by 2017, as well, with subsidies of up to 108,000 yuan to help encourage more residents to buy electric.

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15 Comments on “Beijing EV Licenses Ignored In Spite Of New Car Registration Difficulties...”

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    2 taxis for every charging station seems like it would work perfectly. But they are still complaining about wait times? That’s not a good sign for the viability of EVs as livery vehicles.

  • avatar

    One of my friends currently living in China, which on the map appears to be 200 miles from Beijing, said yesterday, “China Pollution: I can’t see the 5 story building across the street from me.”

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Tough to charge an EV if you live in an apartment.

    If they’re considering Coda EVs, then I can see why they’d choose something else.

    Price probably plays a factor, just as it does anywhere.

  • avatar

    Just look at that picture of Beijing. For all those EPA whiners and haters of emission controls for autos and manufacturing, is that a pleasing way to live? Yes you can buy cheap ipads and iphones from China. But, go check out the cancer rates in China and compare them against the rates in North America.

    • 0 avatar
      Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

      So why aren’t they out protesting in Tiananmen Square?


    • 0 avatar

      The smog issue of major Chinese cities are NOT caused by cars. They are caused by:

      1) Heavy industries such as cement plants or steel producers.
      2) Constant construction activities.

      A lot of times, the air quality is actually worse than the tailpipe gas of a car, which went through air filter and muffler. Therefore, the more cars, the better the air quality (assuming decent cars and gasoline is OK).

    • 0 avatar

      It’ll be snowing in Chicago in July before anyone does anything real about this nonsense.

  • avatar

    The selection of EVs in China that have been available was also much less appealing to those with the means to purchase and maintain multiple vehicles. However, now that Tesla has begun sales in China, we may see some more of those EV tags get used up as the wealthy add to their collections. And with Tesla’s commitment to add a Supercharger network, it will help alleviate some of the charging time complaints as well. Plus if Tesla does well, we may see some of the other manufacturers bring their plug-in hybrid or other EV vehicles into the Chinese market.

  • avatar

    I’m surprised to see a circa 03 Jeep GC in that oncoming traffic. I thought Chrysler had a really hard time in China.

  • avatar

    Surely not as far back as THAT GC though, early 2000s?

    • 0 avatar

      AMC established a joint venture in China in the mid-’80s to build the XJ Cherokee there. Chrysler, and later DaimlerChrysler, maintained that venture, which Mercedes-Benz retained after sucking Chrysler dry.

      So sayeth Wikipedia, anyway.

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