New-energy vehicles exceeded 120,000 by 2014: minister

By Song Shengxia
China has made substantial progress in the development of new-energy vehicles by putting more than 120,000 new-energy cars on the road by the end of 2014, the country’s science and technology minister said Wednesday.
As a result of a series of policies issued by the State Council to support the development of new-energy vehicles, many of the research and development advances in the field have been brought into production, Wan Gang, minister of science and technology, said at a press conference on the sidelines of the ongoing national legislative session.
According to Wan, the total number of new-energy vehicles had exceeded 120,000 by the end of 2014, and nearly 80,000 new-energy vehicles were sold last year.
His remarks followed the unveiling of a plan in February by the Ministry of Science and Technology which stressed that China will seek to build a complete industrial chain and put 5 million new-energy vehicles on roads by 2020.
“The goal of having 5 million new-energy vehicles by 2020 is very ambitious. Given what has been achieved so far, the industry still lags far behind that goal,” Zeng Zhiling, general manager of LMC Automotive Consulting in Shanghai, told the Global Times on Wednesday.
China has issued a handful of policies to encourage the sales of new-energy vehicles.
Sales of new-energy vehicles have been strong since the second half of 2014 following the government’s announcement to waive the purchase tax for new-energy vehicles in August.
In December, the Ministry of Finance announced it would extend subsidies for new-energy vehicles to 2020. Several first-tier cities including Beijing and Shanghai have also adopted a favorable license plate policy for new-energy vehicles.
However, despite the favorable policies from the government, the lack of charging infrastructure has made consumers less willing to possess a pure electric vehicle.
Xu Heyi, president of China’s leading automaker BAIC Group and a deputy to the National People’s Congress, said on Tuesday in a panel discussion that the focus of developing new-energy vehicles sector is now on building charging facilities. (People’s Daily and Global Times)