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China Minister Says Electric Vehicles Remain Strategic

China will stick to promoting electric vehicles as the strategic underpinning of policy to upgrade the nation’s auto industry, according to the industry minister.

The government will continue to foster development of the new-energy vehicle industry and improve tax and fiscal policies to support its development, Miao Wei, minister of industry and information technology, said at an auto forum in Beijing today.

Miao’s comments follow those by Vice Premier Ma Kai, the highest-ranking Chinese official overseeing energy issues, who said last month that the government will study and support subsidy policies for hybrids. Hybrid models, which run primarily on a gasoline engine with a backup battery, currently don’t qualify for the same state incentives as EVs.

China is promoting electric cars to reduce the nation’s reliance on fuel imports and to ease air pollution by cutting vehicle emissions. Consumers have been reluctant to switch to EVs in China because of reliability concerns and a lack of charging infrastructure.

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