Following the examples of Shanghai and Guangzhou, the city of Beijing will soon begin providing subsidies and special car plates to private EV buyers. The pure-electric version of BAIC’s E150 subcompact is poised to become the first model to benefit.
Having over 5 million cars and plagued by air pollution, the Chinese capital has strong measures in place to curb auto ownership. To buy a car and drive in the city, a Beijinger needs first to win the "car plate lottery"–as the municipal government has set a monthly quota for new car registrations at about 20,000. Last month 1.46 million people applied; only 18,457 won–that is, 1 in 80.
Under the new EV-promoting policy, which is soon to be announced and take effect, Beijing residents will not need to play the lottery in order to get a plate for their electric cars. Moreover, the city will offer a rebate of 60,000 Yuan for each qualified EV model–on top of a similar amount from the central government. Adoption of EVs is also encouraged through providing a series of after-sales services and installing charging posts throughout the city.
The BAIC E150 EV, a 5-seat hatchback sitting on a 2500mm wheelbase, is expected to have a price tag of over 200,000 Yuan. After the rebates, it will have an upfront cost of 90,000-100,000 Yuan, similar to that of SAIC’s Roewe E50. By comparison, the petrol version of E150 sells for 60,000-70,000 Yuan.
While applauded, the impending policy carries several disappointments. First, the above-mentioned incentives cannot be enjoyed by those already having a Beijing car plate. To receive the rebates and get a free plate, EV buyers must give up their conventional cars– if they have one. Second, the incentives apply only to certain pure-electric models. Hybrids, plug-in or not, will not benefit from them. Third, the pool of qualified EVs will be further limited as Beijing is to require a set of special standards to be met–in addition to national EV standards.
Direct beneficiaries of the supportive measures will be BAIC and Changan, both having EV plants and running pilot programs in Beijing. Besides the electric E150, BAIC’s green car line also includes the C60 and C70 EV (as well as several hybrid models), while Changan is set to release the E30 this year.
The E150 EV is expected to hit showrooms in April or May.
Price and Specs of BAIC E150 EV
|Estimated Price (before rebates)||200,000-220,000 Yuan|
|Top Speed (km/h)||115-120km/h|
|Battery Type||Lithium ion, from Beijing Pride Power New Energy Battery Technology|
|Charging Time||6 -8 hrs|