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China to accelerate construction of electric car charging stations

China plans to accelerate the construction of a national network for charging electric cars, so as to reach its goal of 5 million clean energy vehicles on the road by 2020, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

A shortage of electric charging stations is a major roadblock in achieving its goal, in addition to the higher cost of electric vehicles compared to internal combustionย engines (ICEs) and hybrid vehicles.

China has made some progress on its car-charging infrastructure, but needs to be better coordinated, according to Zheng Zhajie, deputy head of the National Energy Administration.

China aims to equip at least one in 10 public car park facilities with electric charging stations, he said. The State Council or cabinet will soon be issuing guidance for the roll out.

Recently, China reduced taxes on cars with smaller engines, to revive automobile sales after an economic slowdown started hurting car sales. Sales of green cars, however, have almost quadrupled compared toย 2014 sales.

The government sees electric cars as China’s best shot at closing a competitive gap with global rivals.

China also has rolled out aggressive vehicle fuel efficiency targets that will gradually tighten until 2020, when its standards will exceed those of the United States and roughly equal Japan.

The government has also offered tax reductions for new energy vehicles. It has proposed extending subsidies to domestic car companies to help them meet the government’s target.