Quan Helong, a resident of Jinxi County, east China's Jiangxi Province, visited several automobile dealerships recently, as he is in the market to buy his second new energy vehicle (NEV).
"It only costs 6 yuan (about 92 U.S. cents) to charge 10 kWh of electricity, on which the car can travel 100 km," said the 58-year-old, who bought a second-hand NEV two years ago and plans to buy a new one with better performance.
Wei Xinliang, a villager from Anfu County, is also considering buying a new NEV to replace his old one that only had a range of 100 km. He found new NEV models selling in the market promise a range of 700 km with sleek designs and upgraded intelligent autopilot technology.
There is a thriving market of eco-friendly NEVs in the vast rural areas across the country due to affordable prices and convenient charging facilities.
Li Yizhang, a car dealer in Wuning County, Jiangxi, has witnessed the rapid development of the NEV market in rural areas in recent years.
"I began to sell NEVs in 2014. Only a third of our shop area was used to display NEVs and the rest was used for motorcycles at that time. But now, there are only NEVs in our shop," Li said.
"It's very easy to sell 400 to 500 NEVs every year, and half of the buyers come from rural areas," said Li, adding that rural customers often own yards, which enable them to install charging piles, and the price of electricity is low.
Li believes that NEV sales in rural areas will see an explosion in the near future.
To prompt the usage of NEVs in rural areas, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, and the Ministry of Commerce have jointly mapped out a series of promotional activities in the second half of this year.
Local governments are encouraged to release supporting policies on NEVs, improve the environment for the use of NEVs and promote the construction of NEVs-related infrastructure in rural areas while participating enterprises are encouraged to unveil better quality NEVs, favorable prices and better after-sales service.
In Jiangxi Province alone, a total of 18 NEVs producers exhibited more than 50 models in different localities across the province in July. Eastern provinces including Jiangsu, Zhejiang, central China's Hubei Province and northeast China's Liaoning have also rolled out policies and measures to boost the NEVs consumption in rural areas.
Statistics from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) showed that during another NEV promotion activity in rural areas in May, approximately 69,000 NEVs were sold, up 280 percent year on year. While the figure in rural areas was 120 percentage points higher than the industry growth rate during the same period.
"The promotion activities have sped up the recovery of the domestic auto market and accelerated the transition of the NEV market from policy-driven to market-driven," said Xu Haidong, deputy chief engineer with CAAM.