Country: China

Document type: Policy Statement/Planning Document

China Fuel Cell Subsidy Policy

China’s new fuel cell vehicle subsidy policy focuses on whole value chain | S&P Global Platts (media report version)

Released: September 2020

Title: Medium and Long-Term Planning for the Development of Hydrogen Energy Industry (2021-2035)

Released: March 2022 (National Development and Reform Commission)

Summary Points:

China Fuel Cell Subsidy Policy

  • According to media reports (see above) the new policy, instead of a focus on subsidising the purchase of fuel cell vehicles (FCV), will focus on developing China’s FCV sector in four key areas:
    • Achieving breakthroughs in core technologies and key components along the FCV value chain
    • Carrying out demonstration projects promoting the use of fuel cells in medium and heavy-duty commercial vehicles
    • Reducing costs and creating economies of scale across the FCV value chain from hydrogen production through to distribution
    • Improving the policy and institutional environment to support the adoption of fuel cell vehicles across the whole value chain from capability in core technologies through to construction and operation of refuelling stations.
  • According to reports, the new policy will initially run for four years with the subsidies targeted at a selected number of cities and city clusters.
  • Each city cluster can obtain up to 1.7 billion Yuan (US$250 million) in subsidies dependent on how successful they are in meeting various targets related to the application of the technology and promotion of fuel cell vehicles.

In June 2023, in a related development, media reports indicated that China’s Ministry of Finance confirmed that tax emptions for New Energy Vehicles (including hydrogen fuel cell vehicles) that were due to expire at end 2023 would be extended to 2027, with the extent of subsidy declining over the four-year period.

China’s 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025)

  • China’s 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) was passed by the National People’s Congress in March 2021. In the Plan, hydrogen energy is included amongst several other industries such as brain-inspired intelligence, quantum information, genetic technology, future networks, deep-sea and aerospace development, as ‘future industries’ that China will seek to accelerate implementation plans for.
  • Reporting at the time suggested that a hydrogen plan/strategy was being developed by the National Development and Reform Commission (reports suggested commercialisation efforts on behalf of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies is anticipated to be driven by provincial efforts in the next few years).

Medium and Long-Term Planning for the Development of Hydrogen Energy Industry (2021-2035)

The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) released this planning document in March 2022. According to English language reports, China is targeting to produce 100,000 to 200,000 tonnes of green hydrogen a year and have about 50,000 hydrogen-fuelled vehicles on roads by 2025.

Press reporting on NDRC media briefing of the planning document indicates four key areas of focus:

  • To build a collaborative and efficient centralised innovation platform to strengthen research and develop disruptive technologies.
  • To promote the construction of hydrogen energy infrastructure.
  • To steadily promote hydrogen use in transport, energy storage, heavy industry, and in other fields, including aviation and fuel-cell use in buildings.
  • To improve frameworks to establish and improve policies, as well as establishing and improving standards and safety for hydrogen use (amongst other things).

In August 2023, the National Standards Committee, the National Development and Reform Commission, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the Ministry of Ecology and Environment, the Ministry of Emergency Management, and the National Energy Administration jointly issued the “Guidelines for the Construction of Hydrogen Energy Industry Standard System (8 Edition)’

Provincial Policies

Provincial policies with respect to hydrogen will play a crucial role in hydrogen industry development. It is reported that of the 34 ‘Regions’ that make up China (23 provinces, five autonomous regions, four centrally planned municipalities, two special administrative regions), 18 have independently produced their own hydrogen industry 14th Five-Year Plan while the others have included hydrogen as part of their industrial strategies.

A discussion of China’s national strategy which provides a review of China’s ‘Regional’ hydrogen development plans is contained in an October 2023 publication ‘China’s National Strategy National vs. Regional Plans’ by the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs.


Updated: January 2024