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First Roewe E50 owner gets car plate in Shanghai

SHANGHAI – The first owner of the battery electric vehicle Roewe E50 in Shanghai recently obtained the car plate free of charge, according to news reports.

Shanghai released a set of incentive regulations on purchase of new energy vehicles at the end of 2012, including that NEV buyers will be given the car plate for free instead of an auction.

The regulations said the central finance subsidy is up to ¥60,000 ($9,625) coupled by an extra subsidy of up to ¥40,000 from local finance.

Shanghai Automotive Industry (Group) Corp. (SAIC) officially launched its first battery electric vehicle product, the Roewe E50, in November 2012, at around $37,600 in an effort to crack the private consumer market.

The first buyer is surnamed Qian, who works at the Shanghai International Automobile City.

He already owns a regular B-class sedan. He said the E50 will be used for daily travel from home to work.

“It is a turning point for Shanghai to promote new energy vehicles, which will also bring more confidence and profits to local automobile retailers, auto parts businesses and other car-related companies,” said Rong Wenwei, general manager of Shanghai International Automobile City.

“We’ve sold 500 new energy cars since the launch of our store two years ago, with the majority of buyers coming from Shanghai,” said Zeng Xiangyi, executive director of TZGEV Ltd, which opened the first electric car 4S store in Shanghai in 2011.

SAIC has built 1,170 recharging stations in Shanghai, but most of these are in suburban areas. Rong added that the local government is working on the construction of supporting facilities for electric vehicles, a move which is essential to expand the electric vehicle market.

However, analysts suggested that the policy will not lead to a rapid increase in demand for new energy vehicles.

“The policy will attract certain consumers who want to buy low cost cars, but won’t immediately boost the development of new energy vehicles,” said automobile market analyst Feng Shiming.

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