Green vehicles make for blue skies.
At least that's the philosophy behind a decision by Beijing transport authorities to replace more than 2,500 aging air-choking buses with new-generation clean people movers before next year's Olympic Games.
Feng Xingfu, deputy general manager of Beijing Public Transport Holdings Ltd, said 2,810 environmentally friendly vehicles would be purchased, and at least 80 percent of the buses would come fitted with diesel engines that meet the European IV standard for emissions.
Beijing transport authorities will also add another 160 electric-powered trolleybuses to the new green fleet.
Another 300 buses that run on compressed natural gas will be rolled out, bringing their total number to 4,000, Feng said.
"Compared with the European III standard, European IV has cut particle emissions by a further 80 percent," Feng said.
"European IV buses will have more engine power and improved fuel efficiency."
Meanwhile, battery electric vehicles, which have been serving parts of Shanghai for nearly a year, will get their Beijing debut during the Games.
"Compared with the traditional oil-fuelled bus, the battery electric bus only accounts for one-third of the energy cost, with no pollution," Shuai Hongyuan, head of Ruihua Group, which developed such green autos with the State Grid Corporation, said.
"And a full battery recharge can keep a vehicle running for about 300 kilometers."
Wang Yundan, deputy director of Science and Technology Department from the State Grid Corporation, a 2008 Beijing Olympic Games partner, said China had taken the lead in developing such technology in battery electric vehicles.
He said China would further promote electric-powered vehicles by building more recharge stations.
In addition to battery-powered vehicles, experts have called for more biofuel-run vehicles on Beijing's roads.
At the third Global Botanic Gardens Congress held last week in Wuhan, capital of Central China's Hubei Province, Hu Hongjun, a botanic researcher from Chinese Academy of Sciences told Xinhua News Agency that Beijing could become China's first city to use biofuel technology on a large scale.
By 2010, China plans to plant 13 million hectares of Jatropha trees, from which 6 million tons of biodiesel can be extracted every year as a source of clean energy, according to the State Forestry Administration (SFA).
Statistics show that the number of newly registered automobiles in Beijing is growing at a rate of 1,060 a day.
There are currently 2.97 million automobiles in the capital. That number is expected to exceed 3.3 million by the start of the Olympic Games in 2008.
Authorities will discourage automobile use during the Games to reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality.
(China Daily April 24, 2007)