Most big cities in China suffer from terrible smog and traffic problems. So much so that a jar of clean mountain air from France sells for $845 in smog-choked Beijing... To try to mitigate the problem, Shanghai (population: 24+ million) holds auctions for new license plates. This aims to limit the number of new cars on the road and push people toward alternative ways to get around.
An exception to that rule is electric cars, but so far only Chinese-made EVs qualified. Until now.
The Tesla Model S electric car, which is just starting to be sold in China, will now also be exempted from this requirement. It's not just symbolic, as these licenses can go for around $15,000. A pretty big incentive to go electric!
The only catch is that there are only 3,000 of these free licenses per automakers. After they run out, a new batch must be requested from the local government (who may or may not extend the exemption).