Guangdong Province, China — The Guangdong provincial government announced an initiative last week that indicates the electric vehicles (EVs) industry is set to take off in a big way across the province. Dubbed the Guangdong Province Electric Vehicles Development Action Plan, EVs defined in the plan include hybrid, pure electric and fuel battery-powered electric vehicles.
Increasing CO2 emissions from fossil-fuel-powered motor vehicles make development of electric cars one of the priorities on the Guangdong’s agenda. The government has set a target of establishing assembly lines with combined annual production capacity of more than 200,000 EVs by 2015. In addition, a comprehensive support infrastructure including charging stations and parking spaces with charging equipment will be put in place over the next ten years, according to the plan.
As the support infrastructure is an integral part in ensuring mass market adoption of EVs throughout the province, the government intends to introduce a variety of measures including pricing incentives, government procurement, and technological standards to support the research and development, manufacturing and commercialization of electric vehicles.
Specifically the plan stipulates that public transportation service providers, government departments and administrative business units will be among the first batch of participants in the province’s EV demonstration program. Under the program, a fleet of 30,000 EVs is expected to hit the province’s roads over the next three to five years.
As a result of China’s central government requirement for all local governments to increase the proportion of EVs in their vehicle fleets to 10 percent by 2012, last year the Guangdong government started adding EVs listed in the Vehicle Manufacturers and Product Announcement into its procurement catalogue.
Furthermore, it plans to allocate substantial funds to support the purchase of EVs by the various administrative business units. The provincial capital, Guangzhou, will allot RMB800 million (approx. US$118 million) in an effort to promote 2,600 alternative energy cars between 2010 and 2012.
Deployment of public charging equipment has been included in both the urban and the rural planning of medium-sized and large cities throughout the Pearl River Delta region since 2010. Newly constructed gas stations, residential communities and public parking lots must be equipped with chargers for EVs, while existing utility facilities are to be installed with chargers as well.
A portion of the parking spaces in core business districts is to be zoned for EVs. The government will encourage that funds generally allocated for the betterment of the community be invested in the development and deployment of public chargers, in particular fast-charging stations.
EV owners will be given priority in receiving license plates. As the charging cost is one of the key considerations for consumers when buying an EV, in addition to the availability and convenience of the charging locations, the government plans to implement a preferential electricity rate policy concerning charging stations.
Currently, EVs represent only a tiny fraction of the total number of cars on the road in China. For mass-market adoption, EV manufacturers will need to address the challenge of driving range and purchase price and bring them in line with consumer expectations, according to an industry insider.