Electric vehicles (“EVs”) still make a minuscule percentage of new vehicles sold every year, but governments all around the world are trying to sell EVs to their citizens. If governments are to succeed in this crucial goal, they should look to Liuzhou, a city in China that has been dubbed the country’s electric car capital.
China is the largest EV market in the world, with its residents buying more EVs compared to other developed nations. The southern Chinese city of Liuzhou has done quite a lot to fill its streets with electric vehicles; their actions could be applied to other cities and countries as well. Last year, a whopping 30% of the cars sold in this city were electric, reports Guangzhou-based consulting firm WAYS Information Technology. This makes the city of 4 million second only to Norwegian capital Oslo, where up to 50% of new vehicles sold were electric.
How did Liuzhou achieve this feat? The city has partnered with SAIC-GM-Wulling Automobile Co, which developed the Baojun E100, a tiny, affordable EV that has even given Tesla a run for its money. On top of that, it has rolled out several incentives including free parking and extensive test drives, and the city has installed tens of thousands of charging points to encourage EV adoption among its residents.
To expose its citizens to electric vehicles, the city partnered with SAIC-GM-Wulling to carry out a 10-month free test drive campaign for EVs in 2017. So popular was the program that more than 15,000 people took the Baojun E100 for a test drive, booking all available slots within just minutes and providing the automaker with tons of feedback. Eventually, 70% of the test drivers were so impressed they walked away with a new EV.
SAIC-GM-Wulling used the feedback the test drivers provided to tailor the Baojun E100 to the city residents’ needs and daily driving habits. The EV itself is almost half the length of a Tesla Model X, with its size coming with plenty of advantages, and it sells for only $5,000. Thanks to the EV’s small size, the city has been able to create 15,000 additional parking spots, taking advantage of previously unusable tracts of land that couldn’t fit conventionally sized vehicles.
Baojun E100 drivers also enjoy unlimited free parking at EV parking lots, and they pay just 0.1 yuan or 15 cents per kilometer to charge. In regular parking lots, they can park for up to two hours for free. Due to the size of the vehicles, EV owners can also charge using household outlets with ease, and consequently Wulling has been able to install a whopping 30,000 charging outlets at a fraction of the usual cost throughout the city.
While Liuzhou has definitely received plenty of state support, which may not be possible in other countries, embracing small, lightweight EVs has been a game changer for the city. Providing heavily subsidized and in many cases free parking as well as tens of thousands of charging points has made using EVs on a daily basis easy and stress free. Cities and countries that want to boost EV adoption among their own citizens would do well to learn from Liuzhou.
The reality is that governments cannot on their own take every measure necessary to popularize electric vehicles, and that is why companies such as Ideanomics Inc. (NASDAQ: IDEX) that step up to boost EV adoption should be applauded.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Ideanomics Inc. (NASDAQ: IDEX) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://ibn.fm/IDEX
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