In the history of
the auto industry, China is a latecomer, although it became the
world's largest auto market in the last two years. Now the country
is gearing up to take the lead in at least one field of the auto
industry's future: the electric vehicle (EV).
eco-friendly vehicles are rarely seen on the road—only about 10,000
in the country—the EV industry has already sprouted in China.
Data from the
Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) show as of
the end of 2010, 190 models from 54 automakers had been listed in
the catalogue of energy-saving and new energy vehicle promotion
projects and the output of the 190 models totaled 7,181 last year.
New energy vehicles refer to the three types of EVs: plug-in
hybrids, pure electric and fuel cell vehicles.
12th Five-Year Plan (2011-15) includes the EV industry as one of
its strategic emerging industries, which are expected to become
leading and pillar industries of the national economy. Soon the
national standard for the EV industry will come out, a catalyst for
has also spared no efforts in promoting the use of EVs. Electric
buses have been widely used at major events such as the 2008
Beijing Olympic Games and the World Expo 2011 in Shanghai.
Currently, EVs are promoted in 25 cities nationwide. In June 2010,
the Central Government announced a subsidy program in five cities
to encourage private consumer purchases of electric cars. Local
governments also provide preferential policies for purchases of EVs
and invest heavily in charging facilities.
All this is
paving the way for the mass production and wide use of EVs in
China, but the road could be a bumpy one.
High prices and a
lack of sufficient power charging stations have kept consumers
away. Among the 10,000 EVs currently on the road, only about 1,000
were purchased for private use. Most importantly many consumers
still doubt whether the EV technology is fully functional. That's
what Chinese EV makers have to deal with if they want to be
successful in the market.
But this hasn't
slowed down China's "going electric" trend. China's ambition has
been shown in a development plan for new energy autos, which was
submitted by the MIIT to the State Council earlier this year. The
plan's goal is to have 500,000 EVs on the road by 2015 and 5
million by 2020.
still awaiting State Council approval, will be a real challenge for
China's burgeoning EV industry. But it at least shows China's
resolution in becoming an environmentally friendly country.