Caixin
BUSINESS & TECH

Empty Buses Allegedly Help Automaker Get Its Hands On Electric Car Subsidies

By An Limin and Mo Yelin
A large number of Xinyu Tourism Ltd. buses sit idle in a private parking lot near Linfen, Shanxi province, on Dec. 13, soon after media reported that empty Xinyu buses were running on Linfen's streets. Photo: An Limin/Caixin
A large number of Xinyu Tourism Ltd. buses sit idle in a private parking lot near Linfen, Shanxi province, on Dec. 13, soon after media reported that empty Xinyu buses were running on Linfen's streets. Photo: An Limin/Caixin

As passenger-free “ghost buses” haunt a city in Shanxi province this month, some local media are saying the spectacle is the result of an automaker’s trying to take advantage of new-energy vehicle subsidies.

A national rule compels carmakers to prove that a customer has driven a new-energy car at least 30,000 kilometers (18,640 miles) on the road before the manufacturer can apply for a subsidy for it. The rule was implemented after an investigation last year found that the subsidy system was being widely abused, with many carmakers making substandard vehicles in order to get their hands on lucrative handouts.

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