China to boost government purchases of new energy vehicles

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BEIJING (Reuters) - China will increase to more than half the ratio of purchases of new energy vehicles by some government departments, the State Council said on Wednesday, the latest move to boost green development in a country battling to rein in pollution.

The government has been pushing electric vehicles as a way of reducing the smog that frequently blankets Chinese cities, helping sales to quadruple last year.

“The annual purchase ratio of new energy vehicles for central government bureaus, city government departments with new energy vehicle promotions, and public institutions will be raised above 50 percent,” the State Council, or cabinet, said in a statement on a meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang.

But the statement on the meeting, posted on the government’s website, gave no details of when the policy would take effect.

Automakers’ latest projections for rapid growth of China’s green car market have added to concerns of worsening smog as the uptake of electric vehicles powered by coal-fired grids races ahead of a switch to cleaner energy.

China plans to convert the grid to renewable fuel or clean-coal technology as part of efforts to cut carbon emissions by 60 percent by 2020.

Reporting by Michael Martina; Editing by Clarence Fernandez