China is the largest automobile market in the world, so it’s no surprise manufacturers would like to make their way into the country. The Chinese government is now making that feat easier for electric car makers according to a report from Electrek.
China’s National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Commerce released the framework of new policy last week that would relax strict protectionism laws to encourage manufacturers of “new energy vehicles” to invest in the country.
“Such a policy shows that the government is working to level the playing field and encourage fair economic activity,” Wang Binggang, an expert working on the new energy vehicle project at the Ministry of Science and Technology, told China Daily. “Local battery manufacturers will have more incentives to innovate and improve the quality of their products.”
The rules would invite companies like Tesla to bring their products to China—something Tesla has outwardly expressed interest in doing in the past.
Company CEO Elon Musk announced his intention last year to secure a manufacturing partner inside China. While there was rumor the company had found a partner earlier this year, Musk denied the report and may now be waiting for the rule changes to go into effect before making any official announcement.
With the Tesla Model 3—a $35,000 version of the popular electric ca r—expected to be available in 2017, the timing for Tesla to enter the Chinese market couldn’t be better. Tesla has been exporting cars to China from its California factory since 2013 and reports indicate many have gone unsold.
China aims to have more than just Tesla enter its market, though; the country has set an ambitious goal of 5 million electric vehicles on the road by 2020.
Its strong push for electric vehicles is part of a larger effort to reduce carbon emissions. China is by far the world’s largest emitter of fossil fuels, accounting for 28 percent of the world’s emissions (the United States is second with 16 percent).