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Ambitious draft issued for new-energy vehicle research

Updated: 2015-03-01 11:02
By Li Yang in Shanghai (China Daily USA)

China's new-energy automobile market will develop if the central government can implement its ambitious plan.

The Ministry of Science and Technology issued a draft of the government's plan for supporting research and development of new-energy automobiles for opinions from the public.

According to the plan, China will establish a complete research system and industrial chain for electric automobiles by 2020 to ensure technical support for about 5 million new-energy vehicles on Chinese roads then.

It is noteworthy there is still a big gap between current sales and the output of new-energy automobiles and the government's projected objectives.

According to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, China produced 6,663 new-energy cars last month, and the monthly sales were 6,395 vehicles. The output and sales of battery-electric cars were 3,458 and 3,106 respectively, and the rest were plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.

Experts believe the new plan will give birth to a set of well-targeted supportive policies for the new-energy vehicle industry, and usher the emerging industry into a new development phase.

The draft plan points out electrification of power, lightweight structure and vehicle intelligence are the core technologies for the future development of new-energy automobiles. The next 5 to 10 years will be a period of strategic importance for the reorganization, transformation and upgrading of the global automobile industry.

Jia Xinguang, an analyst in Beijing, said the government should pay more attention to promote the sales and uses of new-energy automobiles in medium- and small-sized cities. "The subsidies in the smaller places are much lower than Beijing and Shanghai. They need more battery-charging stations and better after-sales service facilities," he said.

The plan projects that total sales of new-energy automobile from 2012 to 2015 should hit 500,000, with annual this year of at least 400,000.

Dong Yang, secretary general of the automobile manufacturers association, thinks it will be very difficult to accomplish the government's plan if it government does not mete out new supportive policies, because projected sales this year are about 150,000 to 200,000.

"Shanghai sold about 4,000 new-energy cars last year, thanks to the subsidy and plate exemption policy. But the city only has five battery-charging stations and fewer than 300 charging posts," said Hou Yankun, an automobile industry analyst at UBS. "These numbers do not match with the government's objectives."

To overcome the impact of high prices on consumers, some new-energy car makers have put their vehicles into the automobile leasing and rental market.

Some experts estimate that the government's strong support for new-energy vehicles will reshape the market in short time, and the size of the new-energy automobile market will surpass that of the United States in about two years.

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