Car wars: Race to foster electric vehicles as China pushes for charging stations in new buildings

Is this the beginning of the end of fossil fuel cars in China? State Council fleshes out plans to boost electric car use.

PUBLISHED : Friday, 09 October, 2015, 11:52am
UPDATED : Friday, 09 October, 2015, 5:00pm

New residential buildings in China must plan for electric car charging facilities in a major push towards the technology.

China will add to subsidies aimed at speeding up the building of electric car recharging stations, targeting enough infrastructure to handle 5 million plug-in vehicles by 2020.

Aid for charging facilities will be expanded and local governments will be asked to disclose their favourable policies and incentive offers, the guidelines state.

Newly-built residential buildings should all have charging facilities or set aside space for them, the cabinet said.

The State Council quietly released new guidelines on its website “without elaborating”, Bloomberg reported.

Earlier this month the State Council announced plans to issue the guidelines, as plans to build charging stations at one-in-ten parking facilities gathered pace, SCMP reported.

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Hong Kong already boasts the highest concentration of electric car charging stations in the world after the rollout of the eighth station, based in Kowloon, in July.

The support measures follow Vice Premier Ma Kai pressing local governments to speed up charging infrastructure he said in May was a bottleneck hampering development of the industry.

China has made the development of electric cars a strategic initiative as part of broader plans to lead in the automotive technology, curb pollution and reduce dependence on imported oil.

Electric-car purchases have lagged behind government targets despite subsidies doled out to both automakers and consumers in part due to concerns about the lack of access to charging facilities.

READ MORE: In China, the early bird drives an electric car – but will it catch on for the rest?

China will unify charging standards, expand public charging facilities from urban areas to suburbs and encourage fuel stations to install chargers, the cabinet said.

Earlier in October National Energy Administration deputy head Zheng Zhajie told Xinhua the mess of charging plug variations were hampering adoption as he pledged “unifying and standardising” infrastructure.

“It’s like with phone chargers, it’s a bit all over the place,” Zheng said.

Government agencies should plan charging facilities on their own parking lots, according to the guidelines.