WORLD> Green Ideas
Gearing up for green auto era
(China Daily)
Updated: 2009-06-01 08:23

 Gearing up for green auto era

A woman inside a gas-efficient mini car made by Great Wall Motor Co. Asianewsphoto

A ceremony took place in the Bulgarian city of Lovech on May 11 to mark the opening of a joint venture auto plant run by China's Great Wall Motor Company and Bulgaria's Litex Motors producing environmentally friendly vehicles.

Bulgarian media reported that the plant has an initial investment of 80 million euros and is expected to produce Great Wall's Florid cars and Hover SUVs. According to Sofia News Agency, this project will initially create 1,000 new jobs.

The growing popularity of environmentally friendly and cheap cars in the world offers excellent opportunities, and Great Wall is among the first Chinese firms to tap into this potential in an overseas market.

China hopes to see 60,000 energy-saving and new energy vehicles on its roads by 2012, among which various kinds of hybrids will account for over 95 percent, said Wan Gang, minister of science and technology.

So far, 10 kinds of new energy vehicles have been granted production licenses, and a batch of new energy vehicles including zero-emission electric vehicles will appear on the market.

Wan said that the Ministry of Science and Technology, together with the Ministry of Finance, the National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, has launched a national energy-saving, new energy vehicle demonstration project.

The project's 13 pilot cities will promote the use of new energy vehicles, mainly hybrids, for public transport, taxis, official business, municipal administration, postal services and other forms of public transport. In some big cities, the ministry will promote electric and fuel cell vehicles.

As the Chairman of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council (SASAC) Supervision Board Ji Xiaonan pointed out, judging from the development plan of the world's major automobile manufacturers, the new energy vehicle era will arrive earlier than expected.

Low-emission hybrid electric vehicles have already entered the phase of large-scale industrialization. Over one million hybrid vehicles have already been sold globally, while the mass production of zero-emission vehicles will be realized in 2015, a decade earlier than originally expected.

Ouyang Minggao, expert leader of the Energy Saving and new energy auto project of the National Hi-tech R&D Program (863 Program) predicted that China would develop hybrid, electric and fuel cell vehicles.

According to the Shanghai Securities News, China will offer 43,000 yuan in subsidies to hybrid car buyers in the southwestern city of Chongqing, the first such initiative for private cars.

The subsidy, from the local government, will be given for the Jiexun brand hybrid sedan made by Chongqing Changan Automobile Co, People's Daily Online said.

According to Reuters calculations, the subsidy, including the waiving of 7,000 yuan in road fees for three years, is equivalent to a 31 percent discount for the hybrid sedan.

The hybrid Jiexun, priced at 140,000 yuan, has already received some orders and will hit the market as early as June, the newspaper said, citing Ren Yong, deputy chief of Changan's clean energy auto subsidiary unit.

China pledged in February to subsidize purchases of clean-energy vehicles for public fleets in 13 cities as it moves to help its auto industry develop green technologies.

Under the trial scheme public transport operators, taxi firms and postal and sanitary services in cities such as Beijing and Shanghai, will get rebates of 28,000 yuan to 250,000 yuan for green vehicles, including electric, hybrid and fuel-cell vehicles.

Late last year, the Chongqing government ordered 10 Jiexuns from Changan and set a target to increase the number of hybrid vehicles in the city's public sector to 1,000 in three years.

Reuters - CBW News

(China Daily 06/01/2009 page3)