China’s rapid industrialization over the last two decades has had a positive impact on many aspects of life in China, including the economy, society, technology, transportation, and more.
Nevertheless, while this advancement has led to an overall increase in the Chinese standard of living, it comes with a heavy price, namely excessive pollution in China’s major cities, which affects human health and the environment.
China pledges to cut emissions
A country that is highly dependent on oil, China is responsible for nearly 25% of worldwide production.
Following announcements by both the EU and the U.S. in the fall of 2014 to significantly slash GHG emissions by 2025, the Chinese government, too, pledged to reduce greenhouse emissions and to eliminate its reliance on imported oil by shifting away from conventional gasoline-powered vehicles and stimulating the use of renewable energy.
Chinese government subsidies and incentives
To implement its ambitious plan for reducing pollution, the Chinese government has publicized the importance of driving new-energy vehicles, and is subsidizing the purchase of 5 million hybrid cars, with the intention to have them on China’s roads by 2020. These government subsidies reduce the cost of EV by about 60,000 yuan ($9,700).
The government is also providing the municipalities of China’s big cities with generous incentives to expedite the construction of vehicle-charging facilities both in the cities as well as along highways. The government is expected to spend as much as 100 billion yuan on building charging facilities, and has already begun to work with several companies on this vast project. Additionally, it is encouraging private investment for this purpose as well.
Furthermore, alternative-energy vehicles qualify in China for an exemption from the 10% purchase tax, as well as free license plates issued in several large cities where plates for a conventional gasoline-powered car could cost the equivalent of $12,000.
Insufficient charging facilities
When plug-in hybrid owners decide whether to use electricity or gasoline, the determining factor is charging facilities.
Notably, despite the generous government subsidies for purchasing EVs in China, the pollution reduction plan is running into a major problem due to a shortage in charging stations. As a result, many car owners in China are finding it difficult to charge their cars because there are simply not enough parking spaces in each apartment complex where charging docks could be installed. In addition, many work places oppose having charging stations placed in their parking lots because they pose a fire risk and a safety hazard, especially when it rains, due to the possibility of electric shorts.
This forces many EV car owners to drive at least 10 minutes more each day to reach the nearest public charging station, while others end up fuelling with gasoline.
Notably, the effective reduction of emissions will occur only if customers charge their plug-ins every day. When hybrid owners don’t plug in their cars, their vehicles actually end up using more gasoline than conventional cars because they are carrying 150 kilos of electric components that add to fuel consumption.
Slow demand for EVs despite government subsidies
Despite government subsidies, demand for alternative-energy vehicles in China has been slow, and as of September 2014, the country had reached only 12% of its target for alternative-energy vehicles to be introduced by 2015.
This stems from several factors. First, as mentioned above, there are insufficient charging stations, which is holding back the adoption of EVs in the country.
Secondly, following the plunge in the price of crude oil in June 2014, gasoline prices have gradually gone down, leading to a decrease in the incentive to use EVs. This has led many EV owners in China to run their cars mostly on gasoline, which means that the electric capability is largely wasted, thus proving counterproductive regarding the environment.
A third factor is “range anxiety” - the driver’s fear of running out of power before reaching the nearest charging station – which is also an obstacle for electric-car adoption.
StoreDot FlashBattery technology addresses these issues by providing a driver experience similar to fuelling (without the fumes). Demand for EV may increase substantially once the drivers are expose to StoreDot’s 5-minute charging solution.
Revving up in China with StoreDot’s greener EV FlashBattery
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In contrast to other batteries that contain toxic, polluting heavy-metals, StoreDot EV FlashBattery™ contains proprietary electrolyte, an ecologically-friendly material, while meshing polymers and metal oxide together - materials that leave a minimal environmental footprint.