China’s Electric Car

Motorbikes charging in Shanghai

Recently, at the Shanghai auto show new electric cars from major companies such as Volkswagen and Toyota were unveiled. The push for hybrid and electric cars comes as the government campaigns for “new-energy” vehicles. This comes at an important time because as China’s population continues to grow, so to does its automotive population. China has already witnessed environmental degradation the past few decades due to the quick economic growth it has experienced and it will continue to worsen unless rules and regulations are corrected to reverse the degradation of the past. This may come at the expense of lessened economic growth, but in order for China to be a sustainable nation they must focus on bettering the environment.

Incentives to purchase these vehicles have been put into place, but help very little with driving down the price. Other policies and rules must also be changed regarding fuel efficiency, these incentives and rules will also help lessen China’s dependence on oil assuming the people push for the more efficient vehicles. The Shanghai auto show is a good example of others trying to make the problems known and convincing the government to implement changes. WSJ article

4 comments to China’s Electric Car

  • tyler

    The major challenges I still see as a potential consumer of electric cars (one day) is the inability to make long journeys. Ignoring time restrictions, electric cars cannot be “refilled” at a roadside stand like a conventional car at a gas station, your range is essentially limited to half of your total range from your household (So that you can return home). In addition, there is little incentive for anyone to create an “electric gas station” because electricity is so cheaply available to a consumer at their household. Do you feel that the government should incentivize electric vehicles by creating this infrastructure, much like they did with federal highways, and making the electric car a more feasible only vehicle?

  • gradyb13

    I agree with Tyler and would also add that the time spent to “refill” an electric car is also simply too long. Convenience is a highly important to people, and spending ten times as long filling up (my guess) is prohibitive.

    At the same time, from what I have read this is a fixable issue, so when a solution is inevitable – to this problem and to the ones mentioned by Tyler – then the government should begin to subsidize costs, as with public roads.

  • How do people actually use cars? Even in the US, most commutes are within the range of existing electric cars. If BEVs were inexpensive enough, I strongly suspect that people would discover they could live with the inconvenience of a modest recharge cycle. Tesla for example now has a recharging station halfway in between LA and Las Vegas — at about the point where wisdom would dictate a break to stretch your legs. Unfortunately the Automotive News journalist testing the car found himself 3rd to arrive, with only two stations….but it he’d been at HQ in Detroit he would have found two empty stations.

    Now in China motorbikes in some cities must be electric, but charging stations at work and home mean range is not an issue.

  • gjeong

    During my Environmental and Natural Resource Economics last term, I had an opportunity to do some research on China regarding its use of coal and how its government is trying to improve their environmental problems.

    The pollution in China has reached a critical level. One-third of the urban population breathes the contaminated air and, as a result, lung cancer is the number one cause of mortality in China. I am sure that many people remember 2008 Beijing Olympics. Unlike other countries that previously hosted the Olympics whose main focus was either fighting against terrorism or building infrastructure, China’s main concern was air pollution. They tried everything, like not driving on certain days, to make sure that at least the air quality during the Olympics would improve. This example really portrays the air pollution problem with China (translated from Korean Article.)

    I think what this article suggests is that China is now considering its environmental problem more seriously. The electronic cars will certainly help reducing pollution, and they are better for the environment. It can indeed worsen the economy but we always have to think about the trade-off between environmental preservation and other economic activities. Considering what we will face in the future, I would go for the electric cars.

    I am glad to see this progress in China. Although it will be a bit troublesome in the beginning, I think it will be better for the country and the world.