Editor’s Note: China is already a world leader in the production and sale of electric vehicles, and judging by their popularity, you will see more of these eco-friendly vehicles on the roads, writes a veteran China Daily journalist.
Driving on the congested roads of Beijing, I often find myself stuck between cars with green license plates, which means they are electric vehicles. Sitting in my gas-powered car, I can’t help but feel guilty that I’m not green enough to buy an electric vehicle (EV).
The presence of so many electric vehicles on the roads suggests that the central authority’s decade-long efforts to promote electric vehicles are paying off. More and more green cars, buses and heavy trucks are on China’s roads. Whereas in 2014, only 74,763 EVs were sold nationwide, the number rose to a whopping 3.5 million last year, making China the world’s largest market for EVs.
In fact, more than 10 million electric vehicles are currently on the roads of China. Although the number represents only a little more than 3 percent of the total 302 million vehicles in China, the fact that the sale of electric vehicles has increased 1.6 times between 2020 and 2021 signifies the growing popularity of new vehicles. Energy. And the fact that around 3.2 million EVs were sold in the first seven months of this year, an increase of more than 100 percent, shows that the momentum of EV sales has picked up.
China is a newcomer to vehicle manufacturing. It did not have a significant automobile manufacturing industry until the late 1980s, when several large automakers from Germany, Japan, France, and the United States established joint ventures with Chinese companies to manufacture automobiles in the country.
For the next two decades, foreign brands dominated the Chinese market, leaving the few domestic manufacturers struggling to survive. It was then that some domestic automakers decided to invest in new energy vehicles to gain a larger market share. While governments at different levels implemented a series of favorable policies to help them achieve their goal, the central government invested billions of yuan to build charging stations/points.
In fact, the central government’s goal is to establish at least 20 million charging points by 2025 to make it more convenient for EV owners to charge their vehicle’s batteries. In addition, the government offers subsidies to those who buy an EV or replace a gas-powered car with an EV.
While transportation authorities are replacing gasoline-powered buses with new energy-powered vehicles in the air pollution-prone Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, the goal is to have 80 percent of all heavy trucks running on new energy by 2025.
Beijing has taken the lead in popularizing electric vehicles. The capital now has 560,000 EVs and has set itself a goal of increasing the number to 2 million, or 30 percent of the total number of vehicles, in the next three years. To encourage sales of electric vehicles, the Beijing municipal government has implemented a rule that gasoline-powered vehicles can be on the road for only six days a week to alleviate congestion and reduce carbon emissions, but electric vehicles They can circulate seven days.
Many other local governments, inspired by Beijing’s green program, are offering EV buyers additional subsidies, ranging from 10,000 yuan ($1,405) to 30,000 yuan, which could cover around 20 percent of the price. of an electric vehicle.
Friends who own an electric vehicle have been urging me to replace my car with a new energy vehicle. They say that the cost of operation is much cheaper. While it costs about 10 cents for a gas-powered car to go a mile, it only takes about three cents for an electric vehicle to cover that distance.
With oil prices skyrocketing due to the global energy crisis, it’s wise to choose an EV. But despite being popular in China, electric vehicles can generally travel 300-600 km after charging, which is not enough for long-distance driving. It’s true that there are electric vehicles that can cover about 500 miles on a single charge, but that’s only possible with more than one fully charged battery, not because of any advances in battery technology.
Also, charging stations are hard to find, and even after finding one, one has to wait a long time in “queue” before getting a chance to charge the car battery, because even a fast charging station takes more than half an hour to charge. fully charge a battery.
But given the full support of the government and the rapid development of new energy cars in China, I believe that the prices of electric vehicles will drop and charging will be more convenient.
PS: I have decided to replace my old car with an EV before the end of 2025.
The author is a former deputy editor-in-chief of China Daily.