Electric cars in China: Not yet

Look before you leapfrog

THE main road at the headquarters of BYD, a Chinese car and battery firm in Shenzhen, seems to go on for ever. It winds from gleaming offices past enormous factories and dormitories to a renewable-energy plant and test track. Visitors can take the E6, the firm’s new electric car, for a drive—but try to accelerate and the engineers get nervous. Like the firm, the car is sluggish.

BYD was once ballyhooed; Warren Buffett bought some of its stock. But sales are anaemic. BYD’s first-quarter profits plunged by 90% from a year ago, to 27m yuan ($4.3m).

Three years ago, the Chinese government unveiled policies to propel sales of all-electric vehicles (ie, ones that can’t use petrol at all) to 500,000 by 2015 and 5m by 2020. But barely 8,000 electric cars were sold last year, almost all going to government fleets.

via Electric cars in China: Not yet | The Economist.

Categories: Energy, Policy, Transportation