BEIJING (Reuters) - China's Finance Ministry said on Saturday it will extend a programme of subsidies for buyers of electric-powered vehicles after the current subsidy regime, part of efforts to combat pollution in cities, expires in 2015.
The existing subsidies will be phased out by 2015 as planned, with a new regime to take effect after that date "to preserve policy continuity", the ministry said in a statement on its website. Details of the new subsidies would follow at an unspecified date.
The subsidies were designed to help China meet a goal of putting half a million new-energy vehicles, defined as all-electric battery vehicles and heavily electrified "near all-electric" plug-in hybrids, on the road by 2015 and 5 million by 2020.
Pollution in cities, in part caused by an explosion in car sales in recent years, is a hot-button issue for China's leaders, and several measures have been introduced, including curbs on sales of petrol-engined vehicles.
The current subsidies of up to 60,000 yuan ($9,800) are available for the purchase of an all-electric battery car and up to 35,000 yuan for a "near all-electric" plug-in vehicle were extended for a further three years at the end of 2012.
(Reporting by Jonathan Standing; Editing by Robert Birsel)