China got a bit of a late start on the internal combustion engine and has yet to produce a globally-competitive home-grown automaker. So Beijing decided several years ago that it might be better to leapfrog that entire generation of cars and go straight to electric vehicles instead.
Unfortunately, it’s proved harder than expected to build an affordable and practical electric car in China; despite hefty government subsidies, private sales of electric cars have not got off the ground. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that there is no public infrastructure for charging private vehicles (taxi fleets have proven easier to convert to electric). Read more