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China delays electric-car quotas until 2019
Reuters | 2017/10/3

BEIJING - China has set a deadline of 2019 to impose tough new sales targets for electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids, slightly relaxing an earlier plan to introduce the quotas next year.

Automakers will need to amass credits for selling these vehicles equivalent to 10 percent of annual sales by 2019, China¡¯s industry ministry said in a statement. That level would rise to 12 percent for 2020.

A single vehicle can generate multiple credits, so the proportion of EV vehicle sales to total deliveries would be lower than 10 or 12 percent.

The targets, announced by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, closely mirror previously announced plans. But the new rules do eliminate an explicit 8 percent quota for 2018, in effect giving carmakers an extra year grace period.

The quotas are a key part of China¡¯s drive to develop its own EV market, with a long-term aim to ban the production and sale of cars that use gasoline or diesel fuel.

Global automakers had urged a softening of China¡¯s EV proposals.

Under the rules, automakers will receive credits for plug-in hybrids and EVs that can be traded. Firms with annual sales volumes above 30,000 units must comply with the targets.

These credits will vary according to the range and performance of the vehicle. They will be used to determine whether firms have met their quota, which likely means the actual proportion of EVs to total sales will be lower than the overall quotas.

¡°The rules could result in the production of more than one million EVs annually in China by 2020, or about 4 percent of sales,¡± wrote Simon Mui, a transport and energy expert at the U.S.-based Natural Resources Defense Council.

EV roll-out
Carmakers were generally positive about the move.

¡°We welcome the Chinese auto industry¡¯s shift towards greater adoption of NEVs and will comply with relevant regulations presented by authorities,¡± Ford Motor Co. said in a statement.

General Motors said it would ¡°strive to comply with the mandatory requirements¡±, and adding: ¡°GM has sufficient capacity to manufacture [electric vehicles] in China.¡±

Honda Motor Co. said it planned to launch an EV in China next year and would ¡°try to expand our lineup of new-energy vehicles¡± to meet the quotas.

China is eager to combat air pollution and close a competitive gap between its domestic automakers and global rivals. It wants to set goals for electric and plug-in hybrid cars to make up at least a fifth of Chinese auto sales by 2025.

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