“These measures are necessary for saving energy and the development of the NEV industry,” according to the MIIT website.
At the end of last year, there were 194 million Chinese-owned automobiles, most of which run on fossil fuels, take more than 70 percent of the country’s total gasoline and diesel consumption.
To reduce pressure on energy supplies and the environment, a series of policies have supported the NEV sector, including subsidies, easier access to license plates and construction of charging facilities.
China is the world’s largest electric car market. In 2016, NEV sales exceeded 500,000 units, and more than 1 million such vehicles are Chinese-owned, half of the world’s total.
However, facing a grim environmental situation and energy restraints, more needs to be done, especially at a time when several developed countries are announcing plans to phase out traditional cars.
A State Council guideline promised more than 12,000 new charging stations before 2020 to meet the demand of 5 million NEVs.
The new measures are “tough compared with the rest of the world,” as China has learned from other countries and considered its own situation, said Dong Yang, vice director of China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.
Dong said the measures should not be taken as an early signal of ending sales of traditional cars, as research is still needed on when and how such a measure would work.
Zhao Dongchang with the China Automotive Technology & Research Center said the scoring system is just designed to cut emissions and strengthen the NEV sector.
“It will mainly affect automakers and importers, but the direct impact on consumers is going to be limited,” Zhao said.
Although automakers will not need any NEV credits in 2018, they need to make preparations to comply with the measures from 2019.