Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China

Beijing, the capital of China, has a pollution problem. Though the city has taken drastic measures to improve its air quality, the impact has been marginal at best and Beijing's partial ban of vehicles on certain roadways within the city center has caused an uproar. The latest attempt to clean the air is a massive vehicle incentive program that could put an end to driving restrictions while also curbing rising pollution levels.

Beijing's plan is indeed ambitious. It calls for the installation of 36,000 charging stations, including 100 fast chargers, by the end of 2012 as a way to get ready for 30,000 alt-energy vehicles – 23,000 electric cars and 7,000 plug-in hybrids – that are expected to show up in two year's time. To hit that goal, Beijing will introduce a subsidy program that promotes new-energy vehicles based on battery capacity. The plan is to reward buyers with a 3,000 yuan ($450 U.S. at the current exchange rate) per kilowatt-hour incentive. There is a subsidy cap set at 50,000 yuan ($7,500 U.S.) for plug-in hybrids and 60,000 yuan ($9,000 U.S.) for electric vehicle purchases. Furthermore, Beijing's government will increase its purchases of electric drive vehicles and force encourage companies, public institutions and individuals to follow suit.

[Source: People's Daily | Image: mckaysavage -– C.C. License 2.0]

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