BYD e6 – Click above for high-res image gallery

Governments here in the U.S. have offered some significant incentives for purchasing green vehicles. Buyers can get up to $7,500 off an electric vehicle, thousands off on hybrids and even deeper discounts in select states. Though incentives here in the States are relatively strong, China has taken rebates to the next level.

Not so fast, says Automotive News, warning that plug-in vehicle incentives and China don't mix. AN says more than a year has passed since China announced its massive rebate program, yet plug-in vehicles are "virtually nonexistent" over there. Now, policymakers in China are rethinking the failed incentive program. According to AN, China would by wise not to favor a single type of alternative-fuel vehicle.

Rather, nations should take an all-or-nothing approach. What AN means by this is that governments should either subsidy all types of alternative-energy vehicles or not offer any rebates at all. Why? Well, AN says that by subsidizing a single type of alt-fueled vehicle, automakers will focus on developing that specific kind of vehicle and ignore other technologies that could potentially hold the key to future. There's some sort of logic there, but there is also some sense in promoting something that works, no?


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 35 Comments
      BrunoT
      • 18 Hours Ago
      1. leads to malinvestment in whatever is subsidized vs other potentially better technologies 2. Makes competing technologies economically disadvantaged. (two cars get the same mpg, one has a $7500 rebate, the other doesn't...which do YOU buy?) 3. Leads to massive corruption as politicians play favorites with their "contributors" (of legalized bribes). Those who refuse to pay the bribes will be left in the dust. 4. After technologies are mature and everyone drives a hybrid/plug in/diesel/fuel cell car, are the beneficiaries of the subsidies (corporations) going to pay back the subsidies? Government control of private means of production is by definition fascist. 5. Reducing demand for oil artificially only keeps prices artifically low for too long. Once they rise a multitude of other technologies will become profitable. 6. We "need" food too but most people for these subsidies are against crop subsidies. And for good reason. We have unprofitable unsustainable farms because of them. Think it'd be any different with cars? 7. Finally, and most importantly, it's not constitutional to seize money from individuals and redistribute it to other private individuals and corporations. But then who cares about that dusty old document written by some slave owners, right? The parts of the world where the rule of the mob or their leaders prevails are doing so well, right? 5.
        EVnerdGene
        • 18 Hours Ago
        @BrunoT
        Well said Bruno T. Governments are always either too late or too early, I could give many examples of how they have screwed-up markets instead of the intended outcome. Half a billion each to Tesla and Frisker. Favorites picked. Think of all the little guys (like Aptera) that couldn't get a dime cause all the money is already given to these money pits. So let's be fair: Nobody gets handouts. If someone has a good idea (like Tesla or Frisker or Aptera), private markets would invest in them. Private markets did invest in them. Tesla and Frisker would have been fine without the DOE loans. Proving once again that government should not be in the business of subsidies and loans to anything or anybody (even Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae were inept and never should have been started). afternote: Aptera raised $36M in private placement. Seems like a bunch of dough to me. Not enough? They could have raised more - IF If they had made good progress with the $36M. Private investors lost confidence so Aptera goes hat in hand to the DOE. Wow! - good decision DOE - not throwing more money down the Aptera toilet. And I'm not saying it is the end for Aptera. Fix the product, fix the plan, people/people/people - raise more private equity. "Opinion: Why no country should promote a specific type of alternative fuel " Wow. I agree with the headline.
          Marco Polo
          • 18 Hours Ago
          @EVnerdGene
          I'm not sure what to make of your economic theories, Gene. On the one hand you appear to be arguing an extreme right-wing laissez-faire approach, next you argue anti-capitalist, corporate conspiracy. I suspect, (although I could be wrong) that you just hate capitalist corporations. Subsidies and incentives are a legitimate alternative to compulsion. The US government intervention in the recovery of GM and Chrysler saved the US car auto-industry and the livelihood of millions of American workers. This action was in the Taxpayers best interest. As trustee of the taxpayers funds, the US government must act to prevent damage to the US economy. (especially if the damage is created by government policy).
          EVnerdGene
          • 18 Hours Ago
          @EVnerdGene
          AHAH "especially if the damage is created by government policy" We've come full circle. If the government didn't stick the nose in business, many of our problems would not exist. I'm a free markets guy, and paying actual costs for everything. Example: Even though I disagree with many that oil companies are subsidized (not), but could pay very little taxes (tax code problem, not an oil company problem). Example: I'm all for allowing the government to tax oil to pay for the burdens caused by oil (mostly military and healthcare) - however, I don't want a cent of this tax money going anywhere else. Then maybe, maybe, American citizens would be driving more fuel efficient vehicles, we'd be importing less oil, polluting less, EVs and other alt-fuel vehicles would be more popular and in demand. Voila - same outcome without the smelly politics and waste. I have a theory that GM would have survived without gov. intervention. Ford did. If GM was so sick, maybe it should have died. The cancer is still there. Volt - we lose money on every vehicle, but make it up in volume.
        Marco Polo
        • 18 Hours Ago
        @BrunoT
        Bruno T. How wrong you are, let me count the ways! 1) All governments promote, incentivise, subsidise, industries and services they believe is in the best interests of the people (or the government). 2) Pork barrelling is hardly new,and if announced prior to the election, is the will of people by mandate. 3) You confuse Socialism with fascism. 4 That's a very 'tea party' misreading of the constitution. It may come as a surprise to you, but lot's of other successful democracies exist outside the USA! (some a lot older). Governments have a right, even a duty to provide beneficial incentives to sectors of the economy. In fact, governments have a duty to do so. Whether every individual, or group thinks that a particular incentive or subsidy is beneficial, is a matter for redress at the ballot box. That's democracy!
      Marco Polo
      • 18 Hours Ago
      It's completely disingenuous to compare economic conditions in the PRC, with the USA. Each nation devises it's own policies, dependant on the dynamics of it's own economy and aspirations. The push in the US to abolish the excellent EV incentive scheme, seems to be inspired by very dubious economic argument. Both Ford and GM have been slow in responding to the incentives, but are now gathering pace. Nissan's Leaf and Mitsubishi's iMev would probably not be viable without the incentive. The major oil companies don't care, they can sell all the oil they want, for many years to come. Chevron, BP, Shell and Exxon are moving out of fuel Oil, and into energy alternatives, thereby preserving the oil reserves for more profitable production of petro-chemical products than gasoline. There is a mistaken belief that the US gives huge subsidies to the Oil Industries. In fact most of these have disappeared decades ago. So who is it demanding that the taxpayer should not help fund the shift to renewable fuelled transport? Tea Party, anti-corporate left, climate change deniers, those envious that someones getting something they're not. Those who hate change and refuse to accept that the ICE is becoming obsolete, those who hate US industry, those who hate industry, those who hate the US! Advocates of other technologies who don't qualify, ignorant politicians, cynical politicians seeking to exploit the most base cause, etc etc.... This unholy alliance of unlikely bedfellows, like all armchair economists, are self importantly bumbling about , hellbent on wrecking the fledgling EV industry. One day soon, the EV industry will no longer need assistance, but right now the US is starting to regain technical superiority. US development, technology and manufacture is starting to emerge with new optimism and confidence. The livelihoods of millions of Americans rely upon a US recovery. Don't let the bunglers and mean spirited, once again fail to encourage US innovation. Who do you trust with a vision for the future, Elon Musk, Warren Buffet, or Michele Bachmann/Rick Perry.
        paulwesterberg
        • 18 Hours Ago
        @Marco Polo
        Actually there are still huge oil subsidies that have been repeatedly defended by republicans in congress. For example Exxon paid 15 billion in taxes to OTHER Countries in 2010. They pay Zero net taxes in the USA, in 2009 they actually received a tax credit(refund) of $46 million. http://www.forbes.com/sites/energysource/2010/04/07/exxon-says-it-does-pay-u-s-income-taxes/
      Ele Truk
      • 18 Hours Ago
      The weird thing is, an electric vehicle has more alternative sources than any other alternative fuel vehicles. The fuels can be from sun, wind, rain, earth, fire (the elementals) or Solar (CSP or photovoltaic), wind power, wave power, tidal power, hydro power, nuclear power, fusion power (both hot & cold), even burning alternatives, waste incineration, biochar, landfill gas, poo, etc. So supporting BEVs supports ALL alternative fuels.
      Spec
      • 18 Hours Ago
      And the real reason we are forced to "pick winners" is because the better option is political suicide . . . a heavy gas tax. If you added a hefty $2 to 4 dollar per gallon tax on gasoline like they do in most European countries, then we would have no need for alt-fuel incentives. But since a gas tax is impossible, we are forced to incentivize the alt-fuels.
        Marco Polo
        • 18 Hours Ago
        @Spec
        Yes, political suicide or not, sooner or later the US government must start to raise tax at the pump, and then managed the political and economic consequences. Such a policy would require real US political courage and leadership. It would also require the cooperation and support of all parties,and the media. Maybe RFK, could have accomplished it, but not this current lot!
      Arun Murali
      • 18 Hours Ago
      Most people in this side of the world are still too new to electrics and hybrids. Most really worry what happens if the battery fails. The batteries cost a lot of money so they have to spend huge amounts of money in keeping the car running. I guess, giving a rebate within few years(1-2 years) of these cars appearing in the market just doesnt work. Either the government has to hold on to the rebates for 5-6 years, after which it starts to work or make the rebate available when the market is ripe. I guess US also faced similar issues back in 90's when electric and hybrid cars were new. But a little after 2000 the hybrids started picking up. Even in China, small electric two wheeler does sell well. Cause they have been in the market for a while now without any rebates. From this I can say, If the government really wants to do something to promote a fresh technology, they have to give incentives that helps people believe that the technology is here to stay. Meaning the incentive has to be between now and the near long term(10 years down the line). Which means they have to really believe that the technology does help them in some sort of way.
      letstakeawalk
      • 18 Hours Ago
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8-spp2RQNN8&feature=player_embedded
      EVnerdGene
      • 18 Hours Ago
      Wow. Great points Marco Polo. I'm so sick of hearing about oil subsidies by the uninformed green-weinies on this site. It is the tax code that needs fixing. Even Warren Buffet complains that he doesn't pay enough tax. Put me in charge. I'll fix it. Unfortunately, even the bozo pres. can't fix it. It's the bozo congress's job. And they ain't doing shiit to fix shiit.
      • 18 Hours Ago
      Chinese do have millionaires and plenty of them, but then there's alot families who ride 3 to 5 on a single scooter. Perhaps the reason for the failed incentive program was that those who could afford buying an electric vehicle did not want one. China is the world leader in electric bicycles and could be so in electric scooters and more affordable family cars if the incentives are there. If not, then the wealth might just end up using their lottery winning (for registering a car) to buy a BMW, Maybach or similar over going the environmentally-friendly option. Also the lack of electric cars is significant since there seems to still be alot of demand for them (like the taxis). It just might be that soon China leads the world in not only the electric bicycles, but electric vehicles combined. They just need the supply for it.
      Spec
      • 18 Hours Ago
      "AN says more than a year has passed since China announced its massive rebate program, yet plug-in vehicles are "virtually nonexistent" over there." What did they expect? All of the sudden all the cars to become electric? Idiots. Even if electric cars cost the same as gas cars, it would still make many many years before they become a substantial part of the fleet. But even with the incentive programs, electric cars are (and probably always will be) more expensive than gas cars up front. It is just much cheaper to install an empty steel container (gas tank) than it is to install a sophisticated battery system.
        Spec
        • 18 Hours Ago
        @Spec
        And virtually no plug-in vehicles? That is about as false as a statement can be. There are 100+ MILLION electric bicycles in China. But I guess their limited thinking doesn't count those as 'vehicles'.
      • 18 Hours Ago
      I've got this new perpetual motion machine that will eat hydrogen, fart unicorn dust and crap electric batteries. I want some government support for my new machine too! Geez, why does everyone insist on going all the way to one end of the spectrum or the other? You don't fund every moronic thing that comes along and you don't fund just one either. Which ones do you fund? There has to be some type of verification FROM A 3RD PARTY WHO HAS ZERO INTEREST, in the product that can show it's even feasible. A study funded by the hydrogen coalition for H2 projects or from the US Battery Consortium for EVs is not going to cut it.
        letstakeawalk
        • 18 Hours Ago
        "There has to be some type of verification FROM A 3RD PARTY WHO HAS ZERO INTEREST," Which is the role of the government's national labs and the universities that participate in shared research. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Department_of_Energy_National_Laboratories They're not interested in promoting any one specific tech over another - they're interested in finding out which techs has the potential to advance the interests of the US (and presumably, the Free World). Reducing oil consumption and reducing greenhouse emissions have both been identified as being goals worthy of funding.
          EVnerdGene
          • 18 Hours Ago
          @letstakeawalk
          "FROM A 3RD PARTY WHO HAS ZERO INTEREST" There is no one who has zero interest. The DOE weinies are protecting their jobs. There will always be corruption and stupidity. We must limit it, by limiting government. Obozo has grown gov. tremendously, and says he has created jobs. Sorry, these jobs just contribute to our hole in the ground we're digging - the national debt.
          letstakeawalk
          • 18 Hours Ago
          @letstakeawalk
          I'm not sure where you're going, other than you seem to think the DOE haln't accomplished anything useful. Personally, I think helping GM create the Volt is a pretty decent accomplishment, but they've done a lot more than that. You fail to give them enough credit. The DOE was created to oversee the nuclear program and other experimental energies, and oversees the operation of a system of national labs that were created decades earlier (many also to do with the nuclear program). The DOE was specifically created because of the energy crisis, and is tasked with finding new ways to generate and use energy for the benefit of the nation. http://www.usbr.gov/power/legislation/doeorg.pdf
          EVnerdGene
          • 18 Hours Ago
          @letstakeawalk
          DOE started in 1977. Tasked with decreasing America's dependence on oil. look up: thousands of employees a hundred thousand contractors $20 Billion budget every year. And all they've come up with is subidized ethanol and we're using more foreign oil than ever. tack it onto the national debt. Face it. Government is stupid. The more we can limit the stupidity, the better off we are.
      Spec
      • 18 Hours Ago
      And that is one of the reasons why I support electric cars. Electricity is not an energy source, it is an energy carrier. With electric cars, we can power them with coal, natural gas, nuclear power, hydro, solar, wind, biomass, tides, . . . and even oil! We can switch between the various energy sources depending on their availability and our commitment to combating climate change & pollution.
      paulwesterberg
      • 18 Hours Ago
      Actually I do think that public subsidies for highly efficient vehicles should apply equally. If a gas/hydrogen/ethanol/methanol/natgas car can get 90+mpge I think there should be incentives for people to buy such vehicles. The article doesn't talk about oil company tax breaks because they like those just fine. I would argue that providing incentives to buy new efficient technology goes hand in hand with creating an even playing field for energy producers. We should stop giving corporate welfare to energy companies and we should make them pay extra for the environmental damage they cause. If you do that then the cost of clean energy sources becomes competitive with fossil fuel sources and the "magic of the market" will provide everyone incentives to switch to cleaner transportation regardless of the fuel.
    • Load More Comments