BEIJING (Reuters) - Eleven Chinese ministries and government agencies are test-driving China-made electric cars and more will follow suit, state news agency Xinhua said, in the latest show of state support for the country's fledging green vehicle industry.
Staff at the ministries will drive a fleet of 23 electric cars from Warren Buffett-backed BYD Co Ltd and Anhui Jianghuai Automobile Co, or JAC Motors, as their official vehicles in a one-year trial, Xinhua said on Wednesday.
Beijing has been providing heavy subsidies in a drive to develop the electric car market in China, the world's largest auto market and also the world's biggest emitter of greenhouse gases.
But sales remain dismal due to high battery costs and a lack of charging facilities. Experts also say electric cars lack mass market appeal because they are either too costly or not stylish enough for the rich.
Ministries testing the cars include China's powerful economic planner, the National Development and Reform Commission, the Ministry of Science and Technology and the Ministry of Culture.
More government units will join the trial, Xinhua said, without elaborating.
Beijing's latest show of support for Chinese car makers comes as Japanese automakers including Toyota Motor Corp and Nissan Motor Co cut back production in China following anti-Japan protests.
Reporting by Koh Gui Qing; editing by Jane Baird