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Shanghai’s local government, in an announcement on December 28th, joined Beijing in the mega-city’s push to cut down on transportation emissions. While China’s national government considers the extension of the country’s existing national electric vehicle subsidy policy for 2013, two of the country’s largest cities have taken steps towards playing a more active role in the future incentive and subsidy plans.

These recent developments signify a developing trend among city level governments in China towards sharing the task of increasing the number of EVs on China’s streets. Shanghai’s incentives are set to include a 30,000 yuan (€3,634) subsidy for every plug-in hybrid passenger vehicle and 40,000 yuan (€4,856) for each fully electric car. Furthermore, the city will allocate a total of 20,000 license plates for 2013 to be awarded to purchasers of new green vehicles, adding savings of a further 70,000 yuan (€8,484).

In addition to the new-energy vehicle subsidy plans announced earlier, the city government of Beijing is also seeking to reduce traffic emissions by encouraging the city’s motorists to exchange old, gas-fueled cars for more sustainable vehicles. The city aims to achieve this goal by increasing the amount of a rebate offered to owners for scrapping their older cars from €545 to nearly €800 and also increasing the age-range for eligible vehicles from 6-8 years to 6-10 years. This measure is a necessary and significanct addition to the incentive policy as vehicles older than 8 years account for over 50% of the city’s traffic emissions, although they make up a mere 22% of all vehicles in the city.

These policies are intended to serve as a continuation of the national policy, which expired on the 31st of December, while the national government considers the future of its new-energy policy. However, Shanghai officials have pledged to continue these policies in any event, aiming at a “national plus local” subsidy policy for the future.

Source: Global Times article

The government of Beijing has announced plans to introduce a series of incentives and other supportive measures intended to lower transportation emissions levels. These measures aim to accomplish this by, not only, encouraging consumers to purchase lower emissions rated vehicles, including both electric vehicles as well as hybrid vehicles but also through an increased reliance on more sustainable forms of transportation in the city’s public transit infrastructure.

The soon to be announced measures are set to include financial aid incentives which will match those offered by the central government, raising the total subsidy to nearly €15,000, as well as convenience incentives such as allowing EV owners to avoid having to buy a license plate, otherwise required of all vehicle owners. The city’s efforts to improve the sustainability of its public transit system include increasing the number of EVs in its fleet of buses, taxis, and street cleaners by as many as 2,000 units, bringing the total to 5,000.

These efforts, while impressive given their concentrated timespan of a few months, are only the first phase of a long process of overhauling the highly environmentally harmful urban transportation system, which, in a city with a population of over 20 million and an ever increasing number of cars on its roads, places in stark contrast the challenges facing European and American cities today.

Source: Bloomberg report on the planned incentives

 

A new research program initiated by VTT – Finland’s Research Center, named SMILE - Smart Mobility Integrated with Low-carbon Energy, set to commence in 2013, will focus on four corner stones for establishing low-carbon transportation; Low-carbon energy, Advanced vehicles, Smart transport services, and Transport systems. This program sees a continuation of VTT’s long standing research of future automotive technologies and their practical implications concerning wide spread adoption and carbon reduction.

VTT’s new program’s multi-themed research focus enables a truly synthesized overview of the requirements as well as the impacts of wide-scale electric vehicle adoption as a crucial component to ensuring the sustainability of future urban societies. Through this research program VTT builds on the research it is conducting within the Eco Urban Living initiative as a technological research partner, in collaboration with electric vehicle manufacturer Valmet Automotive.

SMILE also features an interesting focus on the ways in which today’s advanced information and communication technologies can not only increase consumer interest in electric vehicles by improving the EV driver’s experience, but also how such technologies can improve urban mobility in general, whether travelling by car or not.

Source: Research Professor Nils-Olof Nylund spoke with Good News from Finland! on January 3rd, 2013 about the SMILE program and its ambitious scope.

Noting a recent rise in consumer interest in electric vehicles, as evidenced by growing sales worldwide sales volumes which reached more than 120,000 in 2012, Pike Research forecasts that these figures will continue to rise in coming years. Forecasts, based on such factors as vehicle availability, economic growth, petroleum fuel prices, government influence on the market, and the overall vehicle market, predict not only a steady growth curve, but a robust expansion of worldwide sales of electric vehicles and hybrids, reaching annual sales of 3.8 million by 2020. The full results and additional analysis are available in the Pike Research “Electric Vehicle Market Forecast” report available for purchase at their website.

Read More: Pike Research "Electric Vehicle Market Forecast" report

Chinese auto parts manufacturer Wanxiang Group won control of the bankrupt battery manufacturer, which provides batteries for the Fisker Karma among other electric vehicles, with its bid of $256 million (€198 million). The deal, which still faces an approval hearing in US courts, would see the Chinese firm take control of everything except the struggling battery makers’ US government businesses, which are set to be transferred to a new EV firm Navitas Systems for $2.2 million (€1.7 million).

The deal would allow A123 Systems to resume battery production and continue delivery of batteries to Fisker Automotive, whose production has been at a standstill since late November owing, in part, to the battery maker’s inability to continue delivery.

Source: NY Times article

Read more: Bloomberg report on A123's bankruptcy filing

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