Owners of private parking spaces will from July 1 be entitled to install charging facilities for electric cars on them, the Shanghai transport commission said yesterday.
"We want to make it easier for people to charge their electric cars and in turn encourage more people to buy them," said Ye Xing, an official with the commission.
"If a person owns a parking space or has been given approval from an owner, he or she will be entitled to install a charging post," Ye said.
"If the management company doesn't cooperate, the person can ask their local neighborhood committee to mediate," he said.
In the past, some owners of hybrid cars have been forced to run them mostly on gasoline as they were unable to install charging facilities at home. This also restricted their ability to get a free license plate, as applications are subject to proof that charging facilities are available.
Despite Ye's comments, not everyone is convinced the new policy will resolve the problems faced by owners of new-energy vehicles.
"This is just a policy and not law, so I don't see it making much difference," Melinda Gao, who owns both a hybrid car and a gasoline-powered sedan, told Shanghai Daily.
"I have my own parking space and my own yard, but still it took me a long time to convince the management company to let me install a charging post," she said.
"The neighborhood committee and management company just kept passing the buck. It was only after a friend of mine who knew someone on the committee argued on my behalf that I got one," she said.
"A lot of my friends were keen to buy electric cars, but decided against it after being told by their property management companies that they wouldn't be allowed to install charging posts," she said.
Zeng Zhiling, manager of LMC Automotive Consulting, said he also has reservations about the new policy, saying there were "many issues" to consider.
"Even if a person owns a parking space, it could be that the electricity infrastructure within the residential community is simply not up to the task of supporting dozens of charging posts," he said.
"Adding new capacity costs money and is a lengthy and difficult process," he said.
The transport commission said it will "encourage" older residential communities and office buildings to work with electric-post manufacturers and electricity companies to invest in new and improved infrastructure.
It said also that the government will provide subsidies for public charging posts and allow operators to charge for the service.
Zeng said that most companies that sell electric cars provide charging posts free of charge if the vehicle owners has approval to install them.
Otherwise, the posts cost between 6,000 yuan ($970) and 10,000 yuan, he said.
As of the end of last month, there were 7,496 electric posts installed across Shanghai, of which 4,285 were privately owned.
The city government last year issued 10,644 license plates for new-energy vehicles — including private cars, officials' vehicles and electric buses — while 10,251 were issued in the first five months of this year.
The transport commission said also that under the new policy, all new buildings in the city, including apartment blocks, offices and schools, will be required to make charging points available on at least 10 percent of their parking spaces.