April 10, 2009

China outlines electric car strategy

China's vice minister of finance, Zhang Shaochun, says the government's support of electric cars will focus on subsidies for car-buyers.

The fiscal subsidy gives voting rights to the consumer, he said at a conference in which officials explained China's plans for pushing the use of electric vehicles, The New York Times reported Friday.

China plans to invest $1.46 billion in electric-car research, but will put most of the subsidies in the hands of consumers, rather than car companies, otherwise the companies will just fight for subsidies, the vice minister said.

Officials said the move to electric cars, which are few in number in the country, included environmental goals.

Wan Gang, China's minister of science and technology, said, We need to be sustainable in different sectors, particularly in the auto sector.

Miao Wei, the vice minister for industry and information technology and a former chairman of Dongfeng Motor, said China needed to overcome problems with pollution, congestion and a reliance on oil imports.

If these three bottlenecks cannot be addressed, the Chinese auto industry cannot grow sustainably, he said.