BEIJING -- Song Yayun, a mild-mannered professor of ancient Chinese literature, counts himself lucky for living no higher than the second floor of his Beijing apartment building.
It's just low enough for him to string an extension cord out his window to the parking lot below so he can recharge the white, five-door BAIC-brand electric vehicle he bought last year, a car he is not particularly thrilled with.
No one said electrifying China's auto market would be easy.
But even as automakers flood the Chinese market with new eco-models and the government pushes generous incentives, there remains much skepticism about the country's ballyhooed EV boom.
Sales of pure EVs and plug-in hybrids in China more than quadrupled last year to 331,092 vehicles, making the world's biggest car market also the biggest market for electrified vehicles.
Yet there is a split personality in Chinese demand, as well as much uncertainty.
Virtually all EV sales are spurred by government subsidies or perks, such as exceptions from the lotteries for license plates in big cities. And the vehicles Chinese consumers are clamoring for right now are no different from what U.S. consumers are buying: fuel-thirsty crossovers, which account for about one in three passenger vehicles sold here.
Consumers may not be enthused about electrified vehicles, but few customers or carmakers can afford to ignore them.
At the Beijing auto show last week, 147 electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles were on display.
With massive pollution problems and scant domestic oil reserves, China has made going electric a top priority. The government is encouraging green cars with subsidies of up to $8,475 per vehicle. It requires foreign automakers to develop those cars with their Chinese joint-venture partners. And carmakers are rushing out electrified cars to meet China's tough fleet fuel economy target of about 47 mpg in 2020.