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China may put $16 billion behind electric vehicle infrastructure

A charging station for an electric vehicle.A charging station for an electric vehicle.
A charging station for an electric vehicle.Wolfgang von Brauchitsch/Bloomberg/Getty

China is getting serious about electric cars. The government is considering a $16 billion investment to build electric-vehicle chargers across the country, hoping to encourage demand for the clean-burning cars.

The policy has not been publicly announced and details on the scope and charging compatibility for brands like Tesla (TSLA) is unknown, according to reports from Bloomberg News.

The charging station network will build on other government efforts to push the adoption of electric cars, including those manufactured by local companies like BYD and Kandi Technologies.

China, the world’s biggest carbon emitter, has been coping with serious air pollution issues for years now. By switching drivers away from traditional gasoline fuel, China is hoping to fight its growing pollution problems.

Other Chinese policies to push electric vehicles include repealing a purchase tax on the fuel-saving cars and for plug-in hybrids and fuel-cell vehicles. Governmental departments are also required to purchase these cleaner options for official uses.

The central government aims for electric cars to make up at least 30% of its official fleet by 2016, and that ratio is expected to grow once local provinces become subject to the guidelines.

The new policies already appear to be helping local electric vehicle makers. BYD, which is partially owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, reported car sales were up sixfold during the first half of this year as a result of the favorable guidelines.