Business / Auto China

China's EV sector in urgent need of a jump-start

By Lyu Chang (China Daily) Updated: 2015-06-19 09:36

Thousands of charging points have already been built along the Beijing-Shanghai expressway, spaced out every 50 kilometers, but many are not in use, according to reports, because the State Grid Corp is still trying to sort who pays for them due to the different payment systems in place along the route.

A glimmer of good news for Beijingers is that the local authorities have just announced specific charging policies for electricity usage and service fees for its network of public charging stations for electric vehicles, which took effect on June 1.

Under this new scheme, the upper-limit for electricity charges per kilowatt hour has been set at 15 percent of the maximum retail price per liter of No 92 gasoline in Beijing.

Electric car charging companies or stations can fix their respective price standards within this range.

The average cost to operate an electric car is estimated to be about 50 to 60 percent of the fuel cost of an equivalent non-electric vehicle, experts say, and there are reports that Beijing now plans to complete the construction of 2,000 public electric car charging poles within the sixth-ring road by the end of 2015.

Some suggest more should be done to take lessons from more well-established electric vehicle markets such as the United States and Europe.

In the US city of Pasadena in California, for example, which has a high percentage of EVs in use, every public parking lot has a recharging station where vehicles can recharge free for 90 minutes. In some cities where EVs are widely used, the ratio of charging points is more than 1:1.

The effect of Beijing's new electricity charging policy on EV sales is still too early to measure, but it still appears unlikely that the Chinese EV sector can come anywhere close to fulfilling its ambitions anytime soon.

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