Last year, the Chinese government introduced generous sales subsidies for electric cars and plug-ins - but not conventional hybrids.
Beijing did this because it wanted Chinese automakers to leapfrog their Western rivals in the race to develop cutting-edge technology. One year later, China's EV market is virtually nonexistent.
Last month, Chinese premier Wen Jiabao called for a policy review and hinted that the current program had failed. Now, China's policy-makers must ask themselves whether the government should favor one type of EV over another.
The answer is no, and the reason is quite simple. Nobody knows for sure which type of alternative energy vehicles -- hybrids, EVs or fuel-cell vehicles -- has the best chance to succeed. Each type of powertrain has its pluses and minuses.
This is why global automakers like General Motors Co. and Daimler AG continue to develop fuel-cell powered vehicles and conventional hybrids along with their EVs and plug-ins.