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China's new-energy vehicle sector has to drop the idea of "overtaking on a bend" and be more down-to-earth, experts attending a forum -- Rethinking and Reshaping Auto Industry in Challenging Times -- suggested on April 7.
Zhang Yu, manager of Shanghai-based Automotive Foresight Co, said that new-energy vehicle ownership grew at a lower-than-expected rate in 2011, even in cities with direct subsidies for personal purchasers. By the end of 2011, Shenzhen had only achieved 17 percent of its target of having 250,000 plug-in hybrid vehicles and pure electric vehicles on its roads by 2012, Zhang said, adding that Shenzhen was the city that did the best job.
Truls Thorstensen, president and CEO of EFS, a Vienna-based consulting firm, said there are a variety of reasons behind the cool market, including the lack of battery core technologies, vehicle self-ignition security problems, the lack of charging stations and the lack of integrated standards for the pure electric vehicle sector.
Wang Jian, editor-in-chief of China Bus & Coach Yearbook, indicated that the government might have been rash in demonstrating and promoting electric vehicle projects when the technology roadmap was not clear.
As for electric buses, Wang said he is wondering why China is loading two-to-three-ton batteries on buses while Europe is revitalizing trolley buses and trams. He said it is impossible that experts who advised on electric vehicle policy did not know that buses with heavy batteries waste more energy in the first place.
Wu Jianzhong, chairman of Zhejiang-based Zotye Auto Co Ltd, said it's not just the new energy vehicle industry that has lost its way, but also the whole auto industry. The auto industry is impetuous, and that mentality is fatal. He said the industry needs to return to being rational.
Wu said that industry participants need to be more down-to-earth, to improve their product quality.
The forum was held by Auto Business Review on April 7 in Beijing.