Green-car coalition

(China Daily)
Updated: 2010-08-19 09:04
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The establishment of a national team to promote electric cars is of great significance to China's ambition to make the leap from being the world's biggest auto market to its greenest one.

Yet, for such a coalition to work its magic on accelerating the commercialization of electric vehicles, it must be as open as possible to facilitate sector-wide changes to go green.

Yesterday, sixteen central State firms, including three automakers and a number of energy and manufacturing giants, set up an industrial alliance to bring about a synergy of co-operation that will promote green cars in China.

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For a country that has just witnessed its first sale of a domestically produced electric car to a home buyer less than a month ago, the new coalition is obviously urgently needed to help realize its aim of becoming the world's largest market for renewable-energy vehicles.

The Chinese government has decided to subsidize purchases of at least 4 million energy-efficient vehicles by 2012. But for a market that is predicted to sell some 16 million cars this year, such green car subsidies are still not enough.

Moreover, the commercialization of electric vehicles depends also on the development of support facilities like recharge stations and battery technology, which are, more often than not, beyond the capacity of any single enterprise.

Such an industrial coalition may provide a solution to break the bottleneck that has so far hindered widespread use of electric cars. But if the founders make it merely an exclusive club of State-owned enterprises, the coalition will contribute less than it should.

(China Daily 08/19/2010 page8)