Geely Emgrand plug-in hybrid – Click above for high-res image gallery

If you pay them, they will come. At least that's the philosophy China is applying to the electric car business these days. The people's republic is set to roll out new pilot programs in four of its largest cities aimed at curbing emissions by promoting plug-in hybrids and EVs. The country is handing out the equivalent of around $7,320 in incentives for the purchase of more green-minded automobiles. At first, the program will only be available to those who live in Shanghai, Shenzhen, Hangzhou and Hefei, though depending on its success, it may spread to other parts of the country.

As a result of the incentives, Chinese manufacturers are beginning to give EVs and plug-in hybrids some serious thought, and automakers like BYD, Geely and SAIC Motor Corp have all announced varying plans for production. The news will likely go a long way toward helping China get a grip on its raging air quality problems, especially in its larger metropolitan areas.

According to Automotive News, the Chinese government is also offering a nationwide subsidy program for small-engine vehicles. Any car with a 1.6-liter engine or smaller that consumes 20 percent less fuel than current standards is eligible for a $440 incentive.

[Source: Automotive News]
Photos by Sam Abuelsamid / Copyright ©2010 Weblogs, Inc.

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