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China EV quota to stick, reports say

Draft public consultation document maintains 2018 date for 8% sales quota

China, the world’s largest electric car market, is apparently not loosening strict EV sales quotas, reports Reuters.

China’s Premier Li Keqiang and German Chancellor Angela Merkel had reached a compromise that would have required less stringent quotas, the leaders said during a press conference on June 1. Non-Chinese automakers are worried that the requirement for 8% of their sales to be electric models by 2018 would seriously affect their ability to do business in the Chinese market.

Yet despite the public statements to the contrary, the quota seems to remain in place. A draft of the ambitious sales targets was published on the website of the Legislative Affairs Office for the Chinese premier’s cabinet.

According to Reuters, the draft – basically unchanged from a September version – maintains that car manufacturers must sell EVs or plug-in hybrids equivalent to 8% of domestic sales by 2018, 10% by 2019 and 12% by 2020.

Although they did not mention specifics, the compromise suggested by Merkel and Li had reportedly included delaying the 8% mandate to 2019 and allowing car makers to miss the quota but make up for it.

Yet even a delayed 2019 target is a difficult proposition. “To be honest, whether the law takes effect in 2018 or 2019, both are very, very soon in our industry,” BMW finance chief Nicolas Peter said during a recent press event in China.

“Just like all the others, we were below 6% last year, and I mean significantly below,” BMW China head Olaf Kastner told reporters.

There remains a chance that the consultation document has simply not been updated since the leaders met. German Ambassador to China, Michael Clauss, told Reuters that: “It seems that the political leadership has understood that this is a problem but there seems to be a disconnect between them and the working level at MIIT [Ministry of Industry and Information Technology].”

However, others have intimated that China is sticking to its guns and refusing to compromise.

Either way, automakers will surely now be looking at any and all methods of boosting EV production in time to meet the looming deadlines.


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