Electric vehicles may be used for 2008 Games
Visitors, sports fans and participants for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games may be able to drive around the city without polluting the air.
Some 5,000 cars, 1,100 mini-buses and 2,000 passenger buses, powered by electricity and producing zero pollution, are expected to be used for the big event.
These vehicles will run along main traffic lines to the Olympic Games Village, from the village to competition venues and within the game village, said Sun Fengchun, an expert on electric vehicles and vice-president of the Beijing Technology University.
This is only one of the achievements of a project to develop electric vehicles, the Ministry of Science and Technology said over the weekend.
The project was initiated in January 2002 to help reduce the country's oil consumption and minimize air pollution, said Xu Jing, an official of the ministry's Department for High-Technology Development and Industrialization.
Clean emission vehicles currently developed in China mainly include those powered by a fuel cell, hybrids using both cleaner fuels and electricity and purely electric vehicles.
Most of the emphasis in China has gone to fuel cell energy. Fuel cells are powered by hydrogen.
The emission from these fuel cells is mostly water and, thus, no pollution, experts said.
According to Ouyang Minggao, a researcher with Tsinghua University's New Energy and Automobile Engineering Centre, the global automobile industry will consume more and more oil, vehicles will give off more carbon dioxide and further deepen global warming in the future.
Thus the development of electric vehicles will start playing a central role worldwide.
He said Beijing is building an experimental hydrogen station, to support the use of fuel cell-powered vehicles.
He said China's 16 cities have started to develop or even experiment with electric vehicles.
In Wuhan, capital city of Central China's Hubei Province, six electric buses have gone into operation, running a total of 140,000 kilometres and carrying an accumulation of 150,000 passengers.
The Chang'an Automobile Group Company in Chongqing Municipality has developed sample cars driven by mixed cleaner burning fuels which reach the European III emission standard.
China has started several big international co-operative programmes to develop electric vehicles, said Chen Jiachang, an official of the Department for High-technology Development and Industrialization of the Ministry of Science and Technology.
For example, in co-operation with the United Nations Development Programme and Global Environmental Foundation, Beijing and Shanghai have started their pilot programmes.
Under the programmes, six electric vehicles will respectively run in the two cities next year, according to Wan Gang, president of Shanghai-based Tongji University and head of the State key electric vehicles development project.