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China accelerates electric vehicle dream

By Zhao Tingting (chinadaily.com.cn)
Updated: 2010-08-27 16:47
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China's electric vehicle (EV) market is in pole position to become the first nation in the world to realize the EV era, Tony Chen, China Regional Manager with SUD-Chemie, said at a forum in Beijing on Tuesday.

"China can no longer depend on traditional energy for its rapid growth and the nation's oil dependency exceeded 50 percent, so EV development in China is a nationally strategic choice for the country's energy security," Chen said at the 2nd EV Li-ion Battery Forum 2010.

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China surpassed Japan as the world's second largest economy in the second quarter as Japan's nominal gross domestic product from April to June reached $1.288 trillion, compared with China's $1.337 trillion. Economists believed China is "highly likely" to surpass Japan in terms of GDP this year.

Imports of more than 50 percent are globally considered to indicate an energy security alert.

All participators of the EV industry chain in China are active players, Chen said.

The Chinese government announced in June they would provide a 60,000 yuan subsidy for purchasing cars powered only by batteries, which will undoubtedly promote the EV market.

Battery manufactures in China invested huge amounts in the EV battery production and all automakers entered the field.

Other investors, especially some State-owned enterprises, such as CNPC, CNOOC and Sinopec, are interested in, for example, building charging stations for the EV market.

"Only China can concentrate social resources to boost the development of EV," Chen said.

Lithium cell accounted for about half of an EV costs currently, which make EVs more expensive than traditional gasoline-driven cars.

Large-scaled production and innovative business models will help to lower the cost of lithium cells, Chen said. The idea of EV battery tenancy, for example, has been accepted by many. EV purchasers can pay much less to own the car and then lease batteries from related operators.

"Maybe EVs will cost a bit more than traditional cars, but it pays as the industry would effectively reduce carbon emissions. We are spending the money for all human beings and for our future generations, leaving them with a bluer sky and greener world," Chen said.

The EV Li-ion Battery Forum it's an annual event taking place in Europe and Asia. The next Forum will take place in Europe 12-14 April 2011 and in China 6-8 September 2011.