Chris Van Es

China’s Green Drivers

Car sales in China, at 18 million in 2012, now eclipse those in the US, where consumers bought more than 15 million vehicles. Now the world’s biggest car market has declared a new goal: China wants to have the largest number of electric cars.

BEIJING – Earlier this month, China’s government announced another bold move to ease traffic congestion and reduce carbon emissions: the authorities want 60% of all motor-vehicle use in towns and cities to be public transportation, and the government in Beijing is urging regional governments to use more zero-emission and alternative-energy vehicles.

China continues to be the top market for gas-powered vehicles, but it is increasingly clear that its government intends to lead the world in clean-energy vehicles. The Renault-Nissan Alliance will support China’s ambition.

Nissan entered China in 2003, when Chinese consumers bought 4.5 million cars. Skeptics said that Nissan was “late to the game” in China: the Chinese car market was supposedly fully saturated. Back then, the world’s top automotive market was the United States, with Americans buying more than 16 million cars and trucks.

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