The Renault-Nissan alliance signed a cooperative memorandum on promoting the use of electric vehicles with China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) on April 10, becoming the first foreign automaker to ink such an agreement with the Chinese government.
Under the memorandum, Nissan will provide information about the development of electric vehicles and formulate comprehensive plans on setting up and maintaining battery recharge networks and promote the wide use of electric vehicles.
Nissan aims to debut its electric cars produced by Dongfeng Nissan in the Chinese market in 2011, one year ahead of schedule, China Business News said.
Wuhan, capital of central China's Hubei province, will be the first pilot city in Renault-Nissan's zero emission program.
In mid-April, the MIIT will discuss issues concerning the industrialization of electric vehicles and supporting facilities with automakers including Nissan, General Motors, Daimler, Dongfeng and BYD, along with the State Grid Corporation of China (the country's biggest power supplier) and local government regulators.
Earlier, the National Commission of Reform and Development had publicized supporting policies for new energy vehicles and launched a pilot program in 13 cities that will subsidize the use of new energy cars in the public transport system.
Although the memorandum marks a key step in China's endeavor toward the mass use of electric vehicles, there are still many barriers that may hinder the development of electric cars in China.
"The biggest problem about the wide use of electric vehicles lies in supporting facilities," China Business News quoted a source with Nissan China as saying. It will cost tens of billions of yuan to set up battery recharge systems that are as convenient as gas stations.
Additionally, China is yet to set standards and rules that are closely related to the manufacturing and use of electric vehicles.