China's aggressive Electric Vehicle program not meeting goals
Over the past 30 years, China's rapid economic growth and industry development have been driven in large part by specific national plans that set very ambitious targets for certain industries. The electric vehicle (EV) industry is no exception. Yet even with prioritization by the central government, the EV industry does not seem to be on track to meet its targets."
According to the Ministry of Science and Technology's (MOST) 12th Five-Year Plan for Electric Vehicles and the State Council's Energy-saving and New Energy Automotive Industry Development Plan released in 2012, 500,000 EVs and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) are to be deployed by 2015, along with 400,000 charging piles and 2,000 charging or battery-switching stations. The nation is targeting 5 million EVs and PHEVs on the road by 2020.
In addition, MOST and other governmental entities, such as the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, and National Development and Reform Commission, initiated the "10 Cities and 1,000 Vehicles" program in 2009 to support EV development in 25 cities by providing subsidies.
Although these ambitious targets are developed and supported by the central government, they seem overly optimistic and unattainable given the current situation. According to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, only about 20,000 new energy vehicles (EVs, hybrid-electric vehicles (HEVs), and PHEVs combined) were sold in 2011 and 2012, meeting only 4 percent of the 2015 target.
Moreover, the total amount of new energy vehicles deployed per year in the 25 pilot cities under the "10Cities and 1,000 Vehicles" program remained around 10,000, even far from the initial ambitious goals set by some cities, such as increasing the number of new energy vehicles by 10,000—30,000 within four years. In fact, by the end of 2011, those 25 pilot cities had 11,949 new energy vehicles in operation, achieving just 22.7 percent of the set goal; by July 2012, only four cities (Hangzhou, Zhengzhou, Suzhou, and Beijing) had achieved more than 30 percent of their targets.
Electric refuse trucks photo via Shutterstock.
Read more at ENN Affiliate Worldwatch Institute.