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Cities to boost use of new-energy vehicles

2014-10-23 13:24 Global Times Web Editor: Qin Dexing

Regional action plan aims to further tackle air pollution

Thirteen cities in North China, including Beijing, Tianjin and some cities in Hebei Province, will add over 20,000 new-energy vehicles to their public transportation fleets before the end of 2015 as part of a regional action plan to combat rampant air pollution, news portal 163.com reported on Wednesday.

As of the end of 2013, the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region has 222,800 public transportation vehicles, including 53,900 buses and 168,900 taxis, the report said.

The promotion plan aims to add 20,222 new-energy vehicles, pure electric ones or plug-in hybrids to the current fleets in the 13 cities.

Beijing will add 8,507 units, Tianjin 6,000 units and Hebei Province 5,715 units. A total of 94 charging stations and 16,200 charging poles will be built during 2014 and 2015.

The plan aims to push the penetration rate of new-energy vehicles among buses to no less than 16 percent in the region and no less than a combined 5 percent among taxi fleets in Beijing and Tianjin.

Lin Boqiang, director of the China Center for Energy Economics Research at Xiamen University, said that while the plan is a step in the right direction, its effect in combating air pollution in the area will be limited due to the small scale.

"There needs to be more follow-ups in order to ease Beijing's environmental problems," Lin told the Global Times on Wednesday.

Beijing alone, for example, has about 5.58 million vehicles as of July, according to data from the Beijing Traffic Management Bureau.

Gao Jian, an industry analyst at Shanghai-based consultancy LMC Automotive, said the region's joint plan is a pragmatic move and is formulated "in the way it should be," referring to government's previous one-sided wish to drive new-energy vehicle use with demand from the private transportation sector.

"Previous moves often came with a list of objectives [of new-energy vehicles] and hoped these targets could be realized by the private transportation sector. They often did not work well as it was next to impossible to persuade consumers to buy electric cars when the charging network is insufficient," said Gao.

In the current plan, the objectives are going to be fulfilled by the public transportation sector, so we could count on these targets to be finished and expansion of the network in this round of promotion will be a positive factor for the growth of electric sedans, Gao said.

However, Lin of Xiamen University said due to the fact that these charging outlets will be constructed at fixed venues or along certain routes, their ability to push new-energy vehicle growth might be limited as individual car owners will need these charging poles to be available everywhere to be useful.

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