• China's auto industry may fail to achieve the 10-year goals set by the government.

China's auto industry may fail to achieve the 10-year goals set by the government. (Photo : Reuters)

Local Chinese officials are now starting to take action in response to the central government’s campaign to popularize green energy vehicles across the nation.

Beijing authorities announced recently that pure electric vehicles are exempted from the new round of rotating car number plate bans starting this April 11 to April 10 next year. Under the ban, cars with a specific plate number are forbidden from being on the road between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. from Monday to Friday within Beijing's fifth round.

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The move aims to "effectively reduce vehicles' pollutant emissions and continuously improve the capital's air quality," the China Daily newspaper said in its report Monday quoting Beijing authorities.

The incentives follow the government's latest efforts to reduce traffic and pollution in the country, including increasing restrictions on vehicles and policies encouraging people to use electric cars.

During the annual session of the National People's Congress, China's top legislature, in February, Premier Li Keqiang vowed to fight harder to curb pollution by introducing cleaner energy and cutting down on emissions.

In 2012, the State Council announced its goal of getting 500,000 new green energy vehicles on the road by the end of 2015 and five million by 2020.

In February, the Ministry of Science and Technology issued a draft outlining measures to support research and development of new clean energy vehicles.

More recently, the State Council unveiled this March its "Made in China 2025" program, which aims to upgrade the nation's manufacturing capabilities in the next decade.

Under the program, the government will make the country more competitive by offering special funding and tax incentives to 10 industrial sectors including the electric vehicle sector.

Backed by high subsidies from the government, electric cars are lauded for their zero emissions, low noise, minimal running costs and easy maintenance. However, they also suffer from low mileage, with most electric cars reaching 150 kilometers on a full charge on normal weather and road conditions.

Charging stations and posts for electric vehicles are also few and far in between even in China's big cities.

Despite its shortcomings, sales of green energy vehicles remain robust in the country. In 2014, China sold 74,800 all-electric and plug-in hybrid cars, 3.2 times more than in 2012. More than 23 million vehicles are also sold in the past year, making the country the world's leader in sales for green energy cars.