BEIJING, Mar. 9 -- China is considering offering a subsidy of as much as 60,000 yuan ($8,797) to consumers who buy a new energy vehicle, Li Yizhong, minister of Industry And Information Technology, said yesterday.
Giving a reason for the subsidy, Li said green vehicles are expensive because of the huge investment as the technology is still being developed.
"The subsidy won't be effective if it is less than several thousand yuan," Li said. "Without government support, it would be difficult for Chinese families to buy new energy vehicles."
Industry analysts estimated that green cars would normally be sold at a 50 percent premium over a traditional gasoline-powered model.
Last year, China expanded trial operations of new energy vehicles in 13 cities, including Shanghai, Beijing and Shenzhen.
The try-out, mainly limited to public service departments, included a subsidy of up to 420,000 yuan for the purchase of hybrid buses and up to 600,000 yuan for electric and fuel cell buses.
Encouraging individual consumers to buy green vehicles will be the top priority in the future, Li said.
China wants to have 500,000 green cars rolling on the streets within three years while improving infrastructure, such as recharging stations, for these vehicles.