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Free license plates for new-energy cars

By Hu Xiaocen  (Shanghai Daily)

08:47, October 16, 2012

SHANGHAI plans to grant free auto license plates for new-energy vehicles by the end of this year, with a newly introduced plate management pool for all types of autos to curb plate speculation.

"Under the current plan, 20,000 plates for energy-saving cars will be granted in the first batch," Shanghai Evening Post reported yesterday citing an unnamed source who was aware of the matter. "But the amount of plates will be adjusted according to the actual need. The plates are specially numbered. People can tell it's a new-energy car from the plate number."

The dedicated amount will be in addition to the plates released every month, which has been around 9,500 for new vehicles in the past four months. But the free licenses will be directly linked to new-energy car purchases and will cease once the vehicle is scrapped.

Meanwhile, a plate management pool is also being planned which will include information about new and second-hand vehicles in a bid to curb rampant plate speculation.

The move comes as the average price for a Shanghai car plate hit a record high of 66,425 yuan (US$10,528) last month, up 25 percent from January.

Officials believe that discerning consumers will switch to new-energy cars, which will reduce the number of people participating in the auction for plates, influencing both the bid success rate and bid prices.

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