China launches pilot program to electrify vehicles in public sector

Peng Chen, DIGITIMES Asia, Taipei 0

Workers building an electric bus at a factory in China's Shandong province. Credit: AFP

Eight China government agencies jointly announced a pilot program on February 3 to increase EV adoption in public-used vehicles, including city buses and taxis. For major cities like Beijing and Shanghai, the goal is to pursue 100,000 electric cars by 2025.

According to an announcement issued by China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and seven other agencies, the national program aims to electrify the vehicles used by government departments, city buses and taxis. Vehicles for sanitation purposes, postal services, logistics between cities and airport services are also targets.

The program starts this year and will last until 2025. The agencies said local governments are encouraged to submit their proposals for the pilot program for approval.

The announcement listed a few ambitious goals that China plans to achieve. First, it wants to raise EV's proportion significantly. The segments of city buses, taxis, sanitation, postal and logistics services are tasked to reach an EV penetration rate of 80%.

The program also aims to increase the ratio between public chargers and EVs serving the public to 1:1. In addition, parking spaces for charging at highway service areas should account at least 10% of small car spaces.

According to the announcement, Chinese government aims to increase EV adoption in various segments, including short-range transportation and minefields. It said it supports battery-swapping and a business model separating a vehicle and the battery.

Given the economic development and infrastructure, the government categorized all cities and provinces in the pilot program. The first category includes major cities like Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin. The suggested target for public-used EVs is 100,000 vehicles. The second and third categories have a goal for 60,000 and 20,000 cars, respectively.

Another goal for the project is to enhance the charging process, promoting new technologies such as fast battery-swapping. The agencies said municipalities are encouraged to incorporate charging facilities into their infrastructure. For instance, they can build energy service stations allowing people to charge, swap batteries or fuel up the tank.

China uses the term "new energy vehicles" (NEV) to cover battery, plug-in hybrid, hybrid and fuel cell EVs. However, according to the attachment released with the announcement, the pilot program only targets BEVs and PHEVs.

The country has seen the EV market expand tremendously in the private sector. According to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers' (CAAM) released data in January, the 2022 NEV sales went up to 6.88 million units, surging 93.4% on year. CAAM said NEV accounted for 25.6% of China's vehicle sales last year. More than 5.36 million NEVs sold in 2022 were battery EVs and 1.52 million were plug-in hybrid EVs.