Tue, Jan 05, 2010 - Page 12 News List

Government mulling electric car subsidy package

DRIVING A REVOLUTION Industry players cautiously welcomed the scheme, but said infrastructure plays a big part in vehicle take-up and is just as important as subsidies

By Jason Tan  /  STAFF REPORTER

The government is set to unveil a subsidy package to promote the development of electric-powered cars, the economics minister said yesterday.

“The subsidy package has just been submitted to the Cabinet for approval ... It is hard to predict when the outcome will be announced, but it shouldn’t take too long,” Shih Yen-shiang (施顏祥) told reporters on the sidelines of a legislative session.

The Cabinet is mulling a subsidy package that includes a reduction in commodity and license taxes and a cash rebate for electric car purchases, he said.

When asked by reporters if the cash rebate would be NT$500,000 (US$15,150) as previously reported, he said that amount was too high, but the ministry would unveil a package that includes a rebate and tax reductions.

The government is planning to launch a six-year scheme to promote the use of electric cars, as fuel prices show no signs of coming down and amid growing awareness of the importance of green energy utilization.

The Chinese-language China Times reported that the first three years of the scheme would focus on education, with 10 parts of the country to be earmarked as “electric car zones.” The aim is to have 300 people driving electric cars in each zone.

The subsidy package would come into effect in the fourth year, the report said.

Industry players said infrastructure plays a big part in the take-up of electric cars and is as important as a subsidy scheme.

“The prevalence of electric car recharge stations is key,” Leman Lee (李振成), vice president of Yulon Nissan Motor Co (裕隆日產), said by phone.

A cash rebate of NT$20,000 would seem “too low,” he said.

“The government has been slow to push electric car development in Taiwan. Authorities in Europe and the US are two years ahead of us,” said Liao Ching-chiu (廖慶秋), research and development assistant vice president of Automotive Research and Testing Center (車輛研究測試中心).

The nation’s automotive industry is well positioned to usher in an electric car era, thanks to its edge in automotive components and vehicle manufacturing, and therefore the government should give a strong push to the initiative, Liao said.

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