China Enters Hybrid-Vehicle Race: World Leader in Three Years

April 2, 2009

(ChattahBox)-The New York Times reports today of China’s plunge into electric hybrid-vehicle production in a big way, planning to lead the world by expanding its manufacturing capacity to 500,000 electric vehicles a year within three years. These bold plans are backed up by government leaders, who are offering extensive financial incentives to manufacturers and buyers of the Chinese produced electric vehicles.

China makes this announcement as U.S. car makers are struggling to stay financially afloat, and they also significantly lag behind foreign auto makers in the development and production of electric vehicles.

The Tianjin-Qingyuan Electric Vehicle Company is at the forefront of China’s rush to lead the world in electric vehicle production. Tianjin plans to launch its battery-powered Saibao sedan this fall at a price point of $30,000. Once sold as a gas powered vehicle, the auto maker is using the existing body and inserting a battery pack and electric motor. A government subsidy could reduce that price by $8,800.

The high costs of lithium-ion batteries are a problem for every car maker struggling to produce a reasonably priced hybrid-vehicle. The Chinese auto maker is hoping larger scale production will lower the costs of the batteries over time.

The Chinese government intends to build scores of public charging centers for recharging the thousands of electric vehicles it expects to be filling their roadways very soon. An added benefit of increased electric car production, is the welcome reduction of the thick smog and pollution that hovers over most Chinese cities, powered by soot producing coal.


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