China's push towards new-energy vehicles (NEVs) will require government backing to win over consumers according to GM CEO Mary Barra.

As China pushes for higher electrification in its market and promotes New Energy Vehicles (NEVs) via incentives and quotas, some OEMs are concerned that ambitious targets for EV take-up will be hard to meet if consumers continue to opt for cheaper combustion engined vehicles.

"While we are exploring all channels to boost NEV sales, building raw consumer acceptance of NEVs will depend on continued joint effort between the government and automakers," Barra said at a company event in Shanghai, according to Reuters.

However, Barra acknowledged the opportunity ahead for GM in China. GM plans to introduce at least ten new NEVs for the China market by 2020 and open a battery plant this year with domestic partner SAIC Motor Corp Ltd.

China wants NEVs to account for around 2m unit sales by 2020 – up from 500,000 units last year. By 2025, Beijing wants to see NEVs accounting for at least 20% of overall light vehicle sales.

However, plans for quotas – so that vehicle manufacturers have to sell a certain number or NEVs in their total – are worrying some in the industry.