PHOTO CAPTION: Couple in China ride double on electric bicycle

China Needs More E-Bikes

China's former-vice minister of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, Qiu Baoxing sees more need for electric-bikes than electric cars.

Published: 22-Mar-2016

In an effort to improve China's deadly air pollution levels brought on by rapid industrial expansion and limited environmental regulation, the central government in Beijing has promulgated a host of incentives and initiatives to encourage its citizens to buy fewer ICE-age automobiles and more electric cars. But according to the former-vice minister of Housing and Urban-Rural Development more cars is not what the country needs.

Qiu Baoxing recently spoke out at a forum on future smart cities, stating, ""I'm not a fan of Tesla. I'm not a supporter of a government subsidy for large-size electric cars like Tesla." According to a report in ECNS.cm:

"...although Tesla is clean-energy-fueled, its large size still doesn't align well with the principles of 'future cities': compact and public transportation-oriented. An average passenger car takes up 10 square meters, while a bicycle occupies 1.4 sq m and a pedestrian occupies 0.3 sq m.

"This is why in cities like Beijing, the number of people passing through a 10-lane road per hour is less than the number of people passing through a three-meter bicycle lane. The increasing ownership of automobiles actually didn't improve the convenience of commuting,"

China currently manufactures and sells, most of them to its own citizenry, in the neighborhood of some 30-35 million electric bicycles, mopeds and scooters annually. The trouble is, much of the once bicycle-centric infrastructure of the Mao era has been appropriated by automobiles. Additionally, e-bike riders often have to cobble together long strands of extension cord to the ground from their apartment blocks to recharge the bike's battery.

Qiu pointed out to forum audience, "China subsidizes 120,000 yuan ($18,600) for an average electric car, the highest in the world, but the cars still failed to become very popular. Electric bicycles never get public endorsement by any ministries but grow at a 35 percent annual pace. Policymakers should reflect on that."

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