Chinese electric car startup Enovate showcases a model at CES Asia in Shanghai. (Photo: China Daily)
Authorities relax regulations and extend subsidies to spur production and sales
China is revving up efforts to increase the market share of new energy vehicles and help the fledgling sector overcome challenges including falling sales aggravated by the coronavirus pandemic.
Wan Gang, president of the China Association of Science and Technology, called for efforts last week to scale up the size of the sector, which accounts for roughly 5 percent of the car market, and improve vehicles' quality to achieve the sector's sustainable development.
Competition should be encouraged to force carmakers to cut costs and improve efficiency and rural areas can have a role in expanding the market for such vehicles, he said.
Wan is also the country's former minister of science and technology and the chief architect of the new energy vehicle initiative China started a decade ago.
He made the remarks when chairing a meeting on the sector's plan from 2021 to 2035 with officials from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology as well as top automotive experts and representatives of the country's leading automotive associations.
Xin Guobin, a vice-minister of the MIIT, said the ministry will release the plan soon. He said the ministry will coordinate efforts to improve supportive policies to stabilize and boost sales of new energy vehicles and promote their healthy development.
Their sales began falling during the second half of 2019, primarily because of a slash in subsidies. Sales totaled 1.21 million units for the entire year, a 4 percent fall year-on-year and the first dip in over a decade in China.
The sector was hit harder this year with the novel coronavirus outbreak.
Sales in the first two months stood at 55,000, down 57 percent year-on-year, while their production plummeted 63 percent, according to the China Passenger Car Association.
To steer the industry back on track, China has released a slew of policies in recent weeks.