As part of ongoing efforts by Beijing to combat egregious levels of air pollution the city’s municipal government has opted to double the annual quota of license plates for new energy vehicles in 2015.
Beijing first introduced quotas on the issuance of new license plates at the outset of 2011, with the goal of ameliorating severe traffic congestion and air pollution by curbing purchases of new automobiles.
It also adopted the world-first innovation of allocating new license plates by means of a series of publicly held lotteries that individual applicants can enter free of charge via online registration. This system was deemed more fair and equitable than the auctioning system employed in other jurisdictions that implement license plate restrictions, such as Singapore and other major cities in China.
According to a report from the Beijing Times, the Beijing municipal government has just raised the bar for obtaining a new license plate to a record high since the introduction of the curbs, by cutting the quota per lottery to 17,600 in 2015 from 19,066 last year, for a reduction of 1,466.
New energy vehicles, however, will remain the exception to the heightened curb on license plate issuance, with their annual quota set to increase to 20,000 this year from 10,000 last year.
In addition to a doubling of the annual quota, the Beijing Times also reports that as many as 4,526 quota spots for new energy vehicles were made available for direct allocation to applicants during the year’s inaugural lottery.
Unfortunately, the first license plate lottery for 2015 saw only 2,139 applicants for new energy vehicles — a fall of 242 compared to the preceding lottery and less than half the available quota. The dismal applicant numbers attest to still tepid demand for new energy vehicles amongst Beijing consumers.
The Beijing municipal government is expected to introduce other measures in the first half of 2015 to improve levels of demand for new energy vehicles, which are officially defined as including 100% battery electric vehicles, hybrid electric vehicles (including plug-in hybrid electric vehicles), fuel cell electric vehicles, and vehicles that make use of alternative fuels.
Cnstock.com reports that Beijing’s municipal traffic commission is set to release a new policy plan by the end of March that outlines reductions in road tolls and parking fees for new energy vehicles specifically, in a bid to whet the appetites of consumers in the Chinese capital.
Curbing vehicle usage and fuel consumption via cost adjustments comprises a key part of the “Beijing Municipality 2013–2017 Clean Air Action Plan Key Task Breakdown 2015 Work Measures” (北京市2013－2017年清洁空气行动计划重点任务分解2015年工作措施) issued by the Beijing municipal government on February 25, 2015.