This year, for the first time China is set to overtake the U.S. as the world’s largest market for electric cars.
While U.S. sales of electric vehicles have started to stagnate, Chinese consumers have almost tripled their demand for “battery electric vehicles” and “plug-in hybrid electric vehicles” in 2015 compared with figures from just a year earlier, reports Xinhua.
It is expected that between 220,000 and 250,000 electric cars will be sold in China in 2015, making up over a third of the total projected worldwide electric cars sales of 600,000 for the year.
The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM), which announced the China sales data, also said that U.S. sales are expected to reach only 180,000 this year.
In response to requests from Quartz, CAAM did not disclose what data it referred to for its U.S. sales information, but figures from the Electric Drive Transportation Association, the U.S. branch of the World Electric Vehicle Association, indicate that 2015 will indeed be a poor year for electric car sales in the country.
While China is already the world’s largest car market, the country’s new green energy vehicle sector has seen an explosive growth in the past two years as a result of intense promotion.
Authorities hopes that measures and initiatives like tax exemptions, subsidies of up to 55,000 RMB, requirements for government bodies to buy green cars, and the building of vast charging stations, can help national sales of new energy vehicles (including taxis and buses) hit 2 million units by 2020.
Major Chinese car-maker Geely announced just last month ambitious plans to convert 90% of its sales to hybrid and electric vehicles, also by 2020.
Energy saving, reducing greenhouse emissions and combating pollution are at the heart of the drive towards going greener on the roads in China, and are just one step in a series of government initiatives to try to curb environmentally destructive energy practices.
Judging by the horrific recent smog in Beijing, a brighter and greener future simply can’t come soon enough.
By Daniel Paul