An electric bus that racks up 30,000 kilometers is eligible for up to $75,000 in government funds.
A transport operator in northern China has been accused of running a fleet of empty electric buses to meet requirements for government subsidies, new media outlet Beijing Time reported Tuesday.
Over a hundred passengerless coaches have taken to the streets of Linfen, Shanxi province, allegedly to rack up enough miles to secure the extra funds. Residents told Beijing Time that the buses, operated by Linfen Xinyu Tourism Co. Ltd., have been running from roughly 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. every day since October, with only a driver aboard.
In January, China implemented a guideline to better regulate the burgeoning new-energy vehicle industry. The standard called for “non-private” electric vehicles to rack up 30,000 kilometers in order to receive government subsidies. Companies like Linfen Xinyu, whose buses are categorized as “mid- to heavy-duty,” can receive up to 500,000 yuan ($75,000) in subsidies per new-energy vehicle, or one that is mostly or entirely powered by electricity.
The company’s manager, surnamed Hao, has denied any subterfuge or foul play. He told Beijing Time that the buses were running to keep their batteries performing well during the chilly winter months. Temperatures in Linfen over the past few weeks have occasionally dropped below freezing.