Transport

Fifteen cities to electrify all public vehicles

Fifteen cities across China have become pilots for “full electrification of public sector vehicles”, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) and seven other ministries have announced.

The notice did not mention a specific timeline, but it echoes a national plan on electric vehicle (EV) development that aims to electrify all public vehicles nationwide by 2035.

The 15 cities include the largest, such as Beijing and Shenzhen, as well as medium-sized cities in all parts of the country, such as Chongqing in the south-west and Changchun in the north-east.

The aim is to get a total of 600,000 electric public sector vehicles on the cities’ roads, the notice states. “Public sector vehicles” covers buses, sanitation vehicles, taxis, postal vans, and more.

Today, EVs make up about 10% of such vehicles nationwide, behind the 30% overall market penetration, MIIT representative Zhao Shijia told Xinhua.

Zhao also said that, with the notice issued, the variety and frequent use of public vehicles will have a “strong leading effect on the spread of electrification”.

China has witnessed a surge in electric bus adoption in recent years. Between 2014 and 2022, the number increased from 37,000 to 529,000, according to the China Academy of Transportation Sciences. 

The pursuit of entirely electric public mobility brings challenges. Notably, certain cities on the pilot list, like Changchun, face extremely cold winter weather, posing issues for battery performance. 

Some experts believe that such hurdles will drive innovation in the EV industry and along the supply chain, says Xinhua. “We are intensifying the development of the R&D centre for EVs, persistently working on enhancing range capabilities and reducing costs,” an automobile company manager told Xinhua. 

It is also anticipated that the pilot programmes will spur additional infrastructure development. The plan includes the construction of over 700,000 charging piles and 7,800 battery-switching stations.

Read China Dialogue’s recent analysis on how China can address its EV battery-recycling challenge.