The Ministry of Economic Affairs launched a subsidy program yesterday in an effort to increase the number of electric cars on the roads in the next three years as part of a long-term plan to boost the electric car industry.
Industrial Development Bureau Director-General Woody Duh (杜紫軍) said the government has set aside about NT$2.3 billion (US$74 million) in subsidies for 10 cases, with the aim of getting 3,000 electric cars on the roads by 2013 and increasing the number to 60,000 by 2016.
The bureau said the program — which offers subsidies of up to 40 percent of the vehicle budgets for the cases whose applications for the subsidies are accepted — would encourage local companies to use the electric vehicles.
“Taiwan’s dense population and short distances between cities make it suitable for developing intelligent electric vehicles,” Duh said during the International Forum of Intelligent Electric Vehicles Pilot Run in Taipei.
The program is expected to generate NT$120 billion for the manufacturing sector and NT$31.2 billion for the service sector over a six-year period, as well as provide 24,000 jobs.
Jacques Saint-Marc, general manager of a group that promotes electric vehicles in France, said at the half-day forum that the French public enjoys a subsidy of 5,000 euros (US$6,980) plus tax breaks when they purchase an electric car.
Peter Nimmo, chief executive of ECOtality Australia, a company committed to developing clean energy technologies, said that more effort should be made that goes beyond just the subsidy program.
“Government support in the early stages is vital,” Nimmo said. “For the long term, battery-charging infrastructure should be sustainable without public funding.”