China should strive to make new-energy cars appealing

Updated: 2011-04-13 09:59
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BEIJING - A Chinese expert told Xinhua on Tuesday that the largest barrier in developing new-energy vehicles is convincing customers to view them as a safe, practical and cost-effective substitute for traditional cars.

The Chinese government has made it clear that it would energetically push the development of new-energy vehicles, among other industries, according to the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015).

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However, Jia Xinguang, chief analyst with China Automotive Industry Consulting and Development Co, said that the eco-friendly car industry is still a newcomer industry, and customers are finding it difficult to accept new-energy cars.

A major concern of customers is that this industry's technology is not as mature as the traditional car industry, leading many to worry about the safety of new-energy cars, said Jia.

"Customers also worry about the convenience of using a new-energy vehicle. For instance, if you buy an electric vehicle, there might be difficulties in charging the battery," he said.

Jia also noted that the high prices of those vehicles also intimidate some potential buyers.

Priced at around 250,000 yuan ($38,200), the hybrid Prius model produced by Toyota has experienced slack sales in China as Chinese consumers consider it expensive.

The most urgent task of both the industry and the government is to solve these problems to enhance customer acceptance, Jia said.

Last Wednesday, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said that a plan to boost the new-energy vehicle industry in the next 10 years had been submitted to the country's State Council for final approval.

According to the draft plan, China will invest more than 100 billion yuan to help nurture the industry over the next decade.