The Chinese government has been paying lip service to the electric vehicle industry in recent years. There were ambitious plans to have 500,000 vehicles on the road by the end of 2015 and 5,000,000 by 2020. These plans have certainly taken a hit with news that only 83,000 electric vehicles are currently in use across China, which is well below even the most critical of forecasts. So what are the new forecasts and are they achievable?
China realigns its hopes for electric vehicles
Thankfully the Chinese authorities have realigned their ambitious electric vehicle targets although they still expect 1 million hybrid and electric vehicles on Chinese roads by the end of the decade. Even though electric vehicle manufacturers are adamant these targets are achievable, as they were with the previous targets, there is still some scepticism amongst the general public. However, are the public right to be sceptical?
Even though the vast majority of governments around the world are paying lip service to the electric vehicle industry, the problem of Chinese air-pollution makes it even more vital for this particular country. For many years now the authorities have been fighting a losing battle in parts of the country's largest cities where air-pollution is at best dangerous and at worst a life-threatening. These issues have been highlighted with the likes of the Olympic Games and unofficial feedback from the Chinese authorities.
When you bear in mind the enormous population across China it is vital that alternative means of transport, with reduced emissions, are brought into play as soon as possible.
China leads the way
China and the Far East in general have always been very strong in the automotive industry and if the Chinese authorities have their way this will continue with electric vehicles. Electric vehicle manufacturers in China will now require state issued licenses which will allow the authorities to play a far greater role in the development of this new sector.
It is also worth bearing in mind that Tesla recently "dumbed down" to the Chinese authorities in order to obtain access to the market. This in itself reflects the enormous influence which the Chinese automotive industry has on the worldwide stage. However, it has to be said that bringing Tesla on board was a major coup for the Chinese authorities and there are many benefits for all parties involved.
Should Europe follow suit?
At this moment in time the U.S. and China seem to be leading the way in relation to the development of the electric vehicle market. While competition between these two powerhouses can sometimes "get out of hand" at this point in time any competition is helpful because it will push the other party to improve their output. It is a little farfetched to believe that these two countries will at some point work more closely together but even if they are pushing each other this will benefit the industry going forward.
Who is your money on to become the electric vehicle powerhouse of the future?