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China wants 30 percent of government cars to be electric cars

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Andy Wong/AP/File

(Read caption) A petrol attendant fills a car at a China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) petrol station in Beijing, China Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013. China will require 30 percent of all government cars to be electric cars in 2015.

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China is continuing its march of electric car progress with the announcement that 30 percent of all government vehicles should be plug-ins.

Battery electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids and fuel-cell cars will all be eligible under the plan, set to be phased in over the next two years.

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According to Charged EVs, the plan stipulates that all official vehicles operating fixed routes in urban areas need to be pure battery-electric vehicles. The plan also requires one charging point for every electric vehicle bought.

The decision could be significant for the country's electric vehicle industry, which is likely to benefit from government departments switching almost a third of their fleet to plug-in cars.

Chinese electric automaker BYD has already seen benefits – the announcement led to its shares increasing four percent.

Foreign automakers shouldn't be left out though – the new rules say that government agencies cannot limit the purchase of foreign brands. Tesla Motors, BMW and Volkswagen, all of whom sell or intend to sell electric cars in the country, could all benefit.

The move is the latest in a series of concessions China has made to encouraging the use of cleaner vehicles, largely aimed at plug-in cars.

A few weeks back, China waived the country's ten percent purchase tax on what it calls "new energy autos", until the end of 2017.

Several cities have launched their own anti-pollution initiatives--some banning older, more polluting vehicles from the streets – while Chinese electric-car buyers also have access to some of the largest incentive packages of any nation.

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Coupled with tough, recently-introduced regulations on emissions, the Chinese electric vehicle market is expected to grow fast – BMW says it could be the world's largest by 2019.