Business / Motoring video

Electric cars sales sag in China

( Updated: 2013-02-19 16:00

China's mega cities have been choked by clouds of smog since the start of the year and one would think that would brighten the outlook for clean-energy cars.

But, the reality is that electric cars are not yet that popular among Chinese consumers. Although the government has launched several measures trying to boost the purchases of electric cars, they have so far failed to ignite sales.

A recent survey by the China Association of Auto Manufacturers on e-cars in Beijing and Changchun shows that during the past two years, the sales of electric cars for private use are close to none.

Dong Yang, executive vice-chairman of China Association of Auto Manufacturers, said, "There are only a few people who spend their money on new energy cars. Here's the thing, the central government approved the subsidies, but the local governments' subsidy distribution system got delayed. Besides, the infrastructures for e-cars, like battery charging piles, are not keeping up with the government's promise."

Ideally, battery-driven electric cars can save 6000 yuan a year when you compare to fuel-driven cars. No need to mention that they contribute to a greener environment. But the battery's maintenance is a relatively big expense, compared with the price of an e-car.

Li Jie, potential car buyer, said, "If I spend between 70,000 to 80,000 yuan to replace a new battery, it would be very difficult to accept this, as a subsidized e-car only costs 120,000 yuan."

Another BIG hurdle for e-car sales is that there are far less battery chargers available than gas stations, and there are only a few public spaces around to charge the batteries, especially in urban areas.

Li Jie, potential car buyer, said, "The battery charging sites are much fewer than gas stations."

Xu Weihan, e-cars dealer of Evbuy, said, "In urban areas, especially in old cities, it's hard to set up a battery charge network, there will be bottlenecks, as there are no parking places for battery charging, basically."

Some car dealers say, the lack of infrastructure for e-cars remains the biggest issue that blocks the green cars from becoming popular among consumers.

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