By Lu Nengneng | 2013-2-19 | NEWSPAPER EDITION
THE lure of free car plates in a bid to drive sales may not be enough to electrify would-be buyers to purchase electric cars which still face a tough ride in Shanghai due to the scarcity of places to charge the vehicles.
With just more than 10 charging stations and 1,700 charging poles in place, the city still has many residential complexes and business centers "unplugged." To promote the use of electric cars, the government started to issue free green car plates more than three weeks ago and later sweetened the deal with free installation of private charging poles.
But the public has so far clearly given the offer a cold shoulder, much like a cold flat battery, as the Shanghai Municipal Electric Power Co received only five inquiries and no applications so far.
Buying a private charging pole can cost around 10,000 yuan (US$1,602) and one needs to have a permanent parking spot for its installation. But many owners of public parking lots think "it is unnecessary to set aside special places for installation of charging facilities since parking spots are already in tight supply," said Du Chenggang, an officer in charge of smart power at the company.
This deters the development of public charging infrastructure, according to market observers.
To solve the problem, Shanghai plans to plug in more residencies, commercial and business centers this year.