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Title: Electric vehicles in China : past, present and future
Author: Zhang, Zichen
ISNI:       0000 0004 6062 0711
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2015
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As the world's major car-producing countries and companies are increasing research and development efforts on vehicle electrification, electric vehicles (EVs) are developing rapidly from the development and testing stage to commodity production and application stage. As the largest global vehicle manufacturer and new vehicle market, China has considered the EV as one of the key tools to solve the increasing energy security issues and environmental pollution issues in the road transport sector. However, as a new market, what the challenges and key factors are in the EV promotion process is still not clear. The main objective of this dissertation is to answer this question through evaluating the effectiveness of EV development in China on energy savings, environment protection and policy demonstration. Instead of covering all determinants, this dissertation mainly focuses on four key aspects: the current statues and issues surrounding China's EV development and promotion; the energy consumption and carbon emissions of EVs based on the power mix both at the state level and regional level; the potential diffusion trend of the EV penetration and the sensitivities of the key impact factors; and the evaluation of the effectiveness of the EV demonstration program in China. Applying a mix of qualitative and quantitative research methods (such as lifecycle analysis, diffusion model and evaluation framework), this dissertation found that, in addition to the technology limitation of the EV, there are still many issues surrounding the environmental, industry, infrastructure and policy aspects, which have hindered EV development in China. To accelerate EV promotion, more comprehensive and diversified policy strategies should be developed instead only focusing on the financial subsidies. The charging infrastructures, for example, showed a more important role in EV penetration than the pricing factors, based on current market conditions. For the energy and environmental motivations, although the pure battery EV (BEV) can achieve a great reduction in fossil energy consumption, its benefits in carbon emission savings is not obvious due to China's heavy reliance on coal-fired power generation. The plug-in hybrid EV (PHEV) seems to be the right choice as a transit technology, according to its performance with emission savings in the current market situation. An evaluation framework has been developed in this dissertation to discuss the effectiveness of the EV demonstration program in China, and help to guide a more balanced development of EVs by considering comprehensive aspects, which include the EV industry, market conditions, policy support, and environmental impacts. Ultimately, this dissertation provides recommendations for the policy implementation for developing a diversified and flexible policy strategy for the EV penetration in China based on different technology choices (EV types), different situations (national and regional) and different timelines (short-term, mid-term and long-term).
Supervisor: Banister, David ; Brand, Christian Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Electric vehicles--China ; Electric vehicles--Environmental aspects ; Hybrid electric vehicles--China ; China--Environmental conditions ; China--Economic conditions--2000-