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Electric Vehicles and Charging Infrastructure As China's Poisonous Coal Capital Spends Millions to Go Green
Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg

The World’s Leading Electric-Car Visionary Isn’t Elon Musk

Wan Gang pushed China to leapfrog the West in electric vehicles.

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At this year’s Beijing Auto Show, a retired Chinese bureaucrat bent down to run his hands over the hood of a sleek sports coupe billed as the world’s fastest battery-powered car, and he smiled like a proud father.

In a way, that’s exactly what he was. Two decades earlier, Wan Gang persuaded China’s State Council to throw its vast power behind the risky, unproven technology of electric cars. He advocated using government money, including subsidies, to help create a world champion industry that would surpass Western automakers. That coupe he was admiring at the April auto show? It was built by homegrown NIO Inc.