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1,000 new-energy cars to have trial run in 10 cities

October 24, 2008
Shanghai, October 24 ( As part of its "863" initiative that was launched in December 2007, the Chinese government is to kick off a "1,000 new-energy cars in 10 cities" in the next few months, and has announced to foster the development of charging stations for this operation, said today.

At an August 2008 summit meeting focusing on electric cars, Wan Gang, the Chairman of the Ministry of Science and Technology indicated that over a three-year period the Ministry would develop a large-scale pilot project in 10 or more cities to put 1,000 hybrid, fuel-cell and all-electric vehicles on the road in each of those cities and provide the necessary infrastructure for the project.

Electric vehicle (EV)-oriented automakers, now only in a very small number, are required to reach the annual capacity of 500 new-energy vehicles by late 2009 and their total annual output should hit 10,000 units by 2010 for every of the designated city to have enough EVs for trial operation. At the same time, the vehicle standards, quality and stability will be strictly controlled to meet the new requirements for city-use EVs.

The first batch of Chinese cities for the EV operation include Dalian, Shanghai, Wuhan, Shenzhen, Chingqing, Changsha, with Beijing, Tianjin and Hangzhou as the immediate candidates. More will be chosen in the coming months. These cities will have the large-scale trial run of EVs and hybrid-powered vehicles in the next few years.

To date, the Chinese government has invested at least 800 million yuan ($117.3 million) in developing the Chinese EV industry. The role of large state-owned enterprises is helping to catalyze this development. BYD Auto, Wanxiang Group, Shenzhen Wuzhoulong Motors are speeding up their EV production and also urging the related infrastructure construction.

In June 2007 the State Power Grid Corporation issued a plan that provided for the conversion of a certain number of public transportation vehicles, taxis, waste disposal trucks, among others, to EVs on a trial basis in certain cities and provinces. The plan also included the development of a nationwide network of charging stations.

A Roewe 750 Hybrid car was displayed at the Shanghai International Auto Show
in April 2007.

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Call for car makers stay in green lane


THE current financial crunch should not slow car makers' investment in fuel efficient and eco-friendly vehicles, which are key for the sustained development of the auto industry, analysts said at an auto forum in Shanghai yesterday.

At the CEIBS 6th Annual China Automotive Industry Forum 2008, industrial officials said although the global financial crisis left car makers struggling with a sales slump and profit decline, spending on new technologies is still needed to deal with the rising fuel costs and pollution that may hurt the industry over the long run.

"China's auto industry is still on a fast track with people's growing income and continuous investment (by auto makers)," said Chen Qingtai, research fellow at the Development Research Center in the State Council.

"If we fail to reduce energy consumption and enhance environment protection, conflicts between the auto industry and natural resources would be costly and unsustainable," he added.

Environment protection and energy saving are a high priority on the government's 11th Five-year Plan as a rapidly expanding vehicle population is facing an energy crisis and environmental challenges that harm the auto industry's long-term development.

Besides China, car makers in Europe are also seeking 40 billion euros (US$51 billion) from governments over the next four to five years to invest in fuel-efficient vehicles, said Ivan Hodac, secretary general of European Automobile Manufacturers Association.

Xu Jian, vice president of Volkswagen Group China, said the high fuel prices and the financial crisis made people realize the importance of new energy vehicles and car makers should invest more on cleaner energy vehicles to boost the industry's growth.

Xu said Volkswagen will consider introducing smaller engines in China to meet market demand, and hybrid and electric cars would also be its top priority.

Car makers, including BYD Automobile, General Motors and Toyota, have been investing heavily to produce hybrid and electric cars in China.

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China considers policies to promote auto sales


China's government is discussing policies to help automakers boost sales and fend off the global financial crisis, according to the country's top planning agency.

The government is analyzing policy options including consumption-tax breaks and subsidies to automakers that develop vehicles powered by alternative energies, Chen Jianguo, deputy head of the industrial coordination department of the National Development and Reform Commission, told a conference in Tianjin on Saturday.

Chinese automakers are facing their toughest challenge in three years as demand is falling and profitability is plunging amid rising costs. The country's auto sales fell in August and September as a 64 percent stock-market slump and the economic slowdown curbed demand.

The government held a meeting in Beijing on Saturday of more than 10 automakers to gather industry suggestions, Chen said. ``It is possible the government may announce policies'' to help revive the industry, he added.

Chinese carmakers have been forced to slash prices, even as steel costs have risen, to compete among the 52 brands on sale, the most in any country. SAIC Motor Corp., China's biggest automaker, had a 78 percent drop in third-quarter profit. Chongqing Changan Automobile Co., the Chinese partner of Ford Motor Co., had a third-quarter loss of 107 million yuan, compared with a 68.4 million yuan profit a year earlier.

China's car sales rose 11 percent in the first nine months, compared with a 22 percent increase for the whole of last year.

The government is also urging automakers to take advantage of a reshuffle in the global automobile industry and speed up development of vehicles using alternative energies, Chen said.

China's government will help automakers with technology and financial support to make progress in the area of electric cars, Chen added.

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China Will Help Fund Development of Fuel-Efficient Car Models

China will boost research into alternative-energy automobiles after investments totaling more than 200 billion yuan ($29 billion) failed to create a brand capable of rivaling Toyota Motor Corp. and Volkswagen AG.

``We should speed up the development of alternative-energy technologies,'' Wan Gang, China's science and technology minister, said at a conference in Tianjin on Nov. 8. The government will provide financial support, said Chen Jianguo, deputy head of the industrial coordination department of the National Development and Reform Commission.

The plans may aid Chinese automakers, such as SAIC Motor Corp. and China FAW Group Corp., the country's two largest, which are struggling to enter developed markets overseas and are losing market share at home as foreign carmakers slash prices. Investing in systems such as fuel cells and hybrids is also in line with a 4 trillion yuan economic stimulus budget China announced yesterday.

Like other carmakers, ``SAIC has invested heavily in developing self-owned models, but there is still no profit,'' said Gu Jiahao, a CSC Securities Co. analyst in Shanghai. ``There won't be a fundamental improvement in profitability unless they come up with something that really sells.''

Carmakers in other countries are also trying to get government help. In the U.S., General Motors Corp. Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler LLC are seeking $50 billion in loans to help them weather the worst auto market in 25 years, according to a person familiar with the matter. The Australian government plans to give the automotive industry A$6.2 billion ($4.3 billion) in assistance through to 2020 to develop less polluting vehicles.

Falling Share

Chinese carmakers' combined own-brand market share fell by 2 percentage points in the first nine months, the worst performance among automakers grouped by country, as Toyota and Volkswagen AG lured customers away from FAW's Red Flag sedans and SAIC's Roewe models. Domestic automakers have also lost their traditional price advantage. Chery Automobile Co.'s 1.6 liter A3 compact, for instance, starts at 78,800 yuan. A similar-sized Toyota Yaris costs from 76,000 yuan.

Overseas carmakers ``are squeezing Chinese brands by giving up some of their profit margins and slashing prices,'' said Xu Jianyi, general manager of FAW Group. The company makes own- brand cars and has ventures with automakers including Toyota. Overseas carmakers have to work with a local partner in China.

Competitive Market

China's car market is the most competitive worldwide with 52 brands seeking to lure customers, including almost every major global automaker. Competition has increased this year as carmakers are opening new plants, while demand is slowing. Industrywide sales fell in August and September, the first declines in three years.

`Consumers are only becoming more picky about quality and that's leading to the decline in market share for China's own- brand cars,'' said Hu Xindong, head of investor relations at Dongfeng Motor Group Co. ``Consumers don't care about the origin of a brand, only quality matters.''

Chinese automakers' share of the domestic market slipped to 25 percent in the first nine months. By comparison, carmakers in South Korea and Japan have market shares of more than 90 percent in their home countries, which has provided a platform for developing overseas sales.

SAIC, China's biggest automaker and a partner of GM and Volkswagen, has fallen 80 percent this year, outpacing a 67 percent plunge for the benchmark CSI 300 Index. Dongfeng Motor has lost 64 percent this year in Hong Kong trading.

China's rising wages are also hurting the nation's domestic car brands, as richer workers are favoring more expensive models. Sales of Toyota cars, including Camrys and Corollas, surged fourfold in the first nine months. Chinese automakers have struggled to convince drivers that their models are of the same standard.

``We have gained market share in the low-end car segment, but it is much more difficult in the medium and high-end car categories,'' said Hu Maoyuan, chairman of SAIC Motor. ``Still, we need to be persistent in developing our own brands.''

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Car makes its own fuel


CARS fueled by hydrogen they produce themselves may be put into mass production in the not-too-distant future thanks to an invention described yesterday at Shanghai Patent Week.

The innovative system can generate hydrogen and adjust the production speed of the fuel to match the needs of a car engine, according to Shanghai Sunfaith IP Service Co Ltd. Sunfaith, a local intellectual property agency, will put the patent up for auction tomorrow.

One component of the system generates hydrogen from a chemical reaction between water and active metals such as magnesium, aluminum and zinc. The other main component is a digital system that can adjust the hydrogen flow by controlling the chemical reaction.

The invention can lower driving costs because the metals are inexpensive, the developers said. It can also save oil and help protect the environment since the burning of hydrogen produces no pollution, Sunfaith said.

One of the invention's strongest selling points is that it solves the problem of hydrogen storage.

Turning stored hydrogen into a liquid fuel consumes energy, and about 2 percent of the gas is lost to leakage every day.

If this invention is eventually put into production, that problem won't exist because hydrogen is produced on demand and burned immediately to run the car, said Huang Changfu, chief engineer of the Shanghai Patent Exhibition and Exchange Center of Energy and Environmental Protection.

The system could cost about 15,000 yuan (US$2,198) per car, much lower than the components used in hydrogen-powered cars made by foreign auto producers.

The invention is one of the recommended intellectual properties displayed during patent week, whose theme is energy savings and emissions reduction.

Ten patents for industrial processes, including some used in the chemical industry, won awards yesterday for their contributions to energy conservation and environmental protection.

Those patents generated 1.4 billion yuan in economic benefits over the past three years and helped save 2.3 billion cubic meters of flammable gas and cut discharges of waste water by 10 million tons, according to the Shanghai Intellectual Property Administration.

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China earmarks $29 bln for green car projects

November 28, 2008

Shanghai, November 28 ( Chinese government proposed a package of more than 200 billion yuan ($29 billion) for the development of new energy cars before 2012, a state official said Thursday at an economic meeting as reported by Beijing based Jinghua newspaper.

Initially the money will be used to subsidize development, promotion and maintenance of new energy vehicles in public transportation, public services & facilities and postal services, and then it will be expanded into the private car sector, said Wang Baoan, Director of General office of the Ministry of Finance.

The country has already decided to put 60,000 domestically made new-energy vehicles on trial run in 11 cities in the next few years, as reported by media.

Wang said the ministry also plans to offer preferential tax policies for automakers who develop fuel efficient cars. Consumers who buy low-carbon green cars will get more subsidy than those who choose less efficient cars.

China's top economic planning body - China National Development and Reform Commission said on Thursday that the commission is discussing measures to reform the current fuel taxation and pricing in an effort to stimulate sales of fuel efficient vehicles.

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60,000 new-energy vehicles to trial-run in 11 cities

November 28, 2008

Shanghai, November 28 ( China has decided to put 60,000 new-energy vehicles on trial run in 11 cities in the next few years as part of the pilot project of developing its eco-friendly, fuel-efficient alternative-energy auto industry, said today.

Science and Technology Minister Wan Gang said earlier this week that China's auto industry now has the capability to develop and make alternative-energy vehicles to cut pollution and save fuel. In the coming three years, China will choose another 11 cities as pilot bases for the trial-run of the 60,000 domestically made new-energy vehicles in public transportation, public services & facilities and postal services.

Currently, there are only small numbers of alternative-energy vehicles in trial service in Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Wuhan, Zhuzhou and some other Chinese cities. During the Beijing 2008 Olympics in August, Changan, Chery, FAW-VW, Shanghai-VW, Dongfeng, and Foton provided nearly 600 new-energy vehicles to serve the global sports event. They include fuel-cell, all-electric and hybrid taxis, buses and other courtesy sedans that achieved zero-emission at and around the Olympic avenues.

China's EV (electric-vehicle)-oriented automakers, now only in a very small number, are required to reach the annual production of 500 new-energy vehicles by late 2009 and their total annual output should hit 10,000 units by 2010 for each of the chosen cities to have enough EVs for trial operation. At the same time, the vehicle standards, quality and stability will be strictly observed to meet the new-energy vehicle requirements.

The Chinese government has invested at least 800 million yuan ($117.2 million) in developing the EV industry. The government will support auto makers' research in the area through financial assistance and preferential policies, and will also give subsidies and tax breaks to individual and corporate buyers of alternative-energy vehicles, said a finance ministry official recently.

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China heading to "green" road with hybrid cars

December 05, 2008
China is heading to its "green" road. As reported by on December 2, a Chinese official said that China may have 60,000 new energy vehicles by 2012 and the government will focus on boosting the annual production of hybrids, making the nation to become another potential green car market.

Wan Gang, the minister of China's Ministry of Science and Technology, last week attended the nation's large-scale application project to promote energy saving and new energy vehicles and told the local media that the Ministry is veering away from its previous preference for clean diesel as an alternative fuel of choice and is moving towards hybrids.

The adjustment of the Ministry's preference is believed to serve as a stepping stone to the use of all-electric cars, as clean diesel is more expensive and all-electric is considered a more long-term alternative to petrol in the country. The Ministry is considering to promote hybrids to 10 large cities in three years, targeting 10,000 new energy cars throughout the country.

According to a report by Automotive News, an advisor to the ministry said that development of electric and fuel cell vehicles has received over 60% of the ministry's funding in recent years, compared to 2-3% for clean diesel which used to attract the bulk of investment.

The hybrid development has seen some positive results in China, mainly due to rising market demand in eco-friendly vehicles caused by the fuel crisis and growing pollution, as well as the new policies by the Chinese government. In fact, various carmakers have been making their efforts in fighting for the market, ensuring the future of hybrid technology in China.

Changan: The country's first indigenous hybrid-powered vehicle

The country's first indigenous hybrid-powered vehicle, Jiexun-HEV, was developed in 2007 by Changan Automobile. As a foster part of Project 863 -- a project promoting electric vehicles initiated by National Scientific and Technological Ministry since 2002 -- Changan Corporation developed hybrid car models equipped with manual transmission and automatic transmission based on the platform of Lingyang car. According to the company, the Jiexun-HEV is an integral part of the "electrified automobile program" in the Project.

It took the China's forth-largest carmaker six years to develop the Jiexun-HEV model. The car meets EU-IV emission standards and its fuel economy is improved 20% compared to the non-hybrid version.

Forming venture to develop green cars

China's largest carmaker, SAIC Motor, has just taken serious step to show its focus on energy-efficient vehicles.

According to a statement filed with the Shanghai Stock Exchange last month, SAIC Motor will spend US$ 293 million on the join venture to develop green cars, taking a 10% stake in the venture, while its parent company SAIC will have a 90 share in the venture.

The venture will work on research and development of core components for new energy vehicles such as electric transmissions and new power systems, the carmaker said. It also said earlier that its target is to mass-produce hybrid cars by 2012, with an annual production target of 10,000 units.

BYD: World's first mass produced plug-in hybrid soon in China market

While global carmakers Toyota and GM are still planning to release their hybrids by 2010 and 2012, the world's first mass produced plug-in hybird compact sedan will soon be available in the Chinese market this December.

As reported by local media, BYD Auto, the automating unit of Hong Kong-listed rechargeable battery maker BYD Co, will release the F3DM (Dual Mode Electric Hybrid) with approval by the Chinese government.

F3DM has already undergone extensive testing. As introduced by the carmaker, the batteries that power the F3DM are BYD's own design, and use iron rather than lithium. BYD also say the batteries can run 600,000km before they need to be changed, or around a 10-year life span. The electrical motor can run 100km on electric power provided by the battery, when the battery is running out, a small gasoline engine kicks in.

Since the growth of China's economy is slowing amid the gloomy global economic environment, the hybrid market in China provides a new hope to the carmakers. Meanwhile, even overseas carmakers are eyeing on the Chinese market. South Korean carmaker Hyundai Motor said last week that it will expand its production of small, fuel-efficient cars for China and other emerging markets.

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Chongqing to build electric car center


Chongqing is planning to build a world-class base in research and development (R&D) as well as manufacturing hub for electric cars and parts.

According to the municipal development and reform commission, the city will cooperate with the American city of Denver and invite Chang'an Auto and US carmaker Ford to take part in the development and production of electric motors and vehicles.

The city also expects to participate in setting national industrial standards.

The project will be supported by the National Development and Reform Commission, the country's top economic planner, and the US Department of Energy.

Detailed plans are underway and substantial construction is expected to commence in the next six months.

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Official: China to run 30,000 'clean' vehicles by 2012


There will be 30,000 clean-energy vehicles in China by 2012, an official with the Ministry of Science and Technology said on Friday.

The ministry was promoting a project to put 5,000 hybrid buses, 20,000 hybrid taxis and 5,000 electric vehicles on the streets in 10 cities by 2012, said Zhan Zhihong, deputy director-general of the ministry's Department of High and New Technology Development and Industrialization.
Zhang said the project would save 780 million liters of gasoline and diesel oil and avoid the generation of 2.3 million tons of carbon dioxide.

He said the ministry had sent officials to Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Chongqing and Anhui province to choose the cities for the vehicles.

The ministry did not specify what companies would make these vehicles but suggested that they would use domestic technology.

China approved the Kyoto Protocol in 2002, an international treaty produced under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, intended to reduce global greenhouse gas emission.

China, a major oil-using economy, has conducted many tests of clean-energy vehicles in Shanghai, Chongqing, Shenzhen, Wuhan and Dalian.

During the Beijing Olympics this summer, about 500 hybrid or electric vehicles were used by the organizers for transport service.

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Cars in Zhejiang cities to use methanol-gas fuel

December 18, 2008

Shanghai, December 18 ( In the first quarter of 2009, vehicles in some cities of east China's Zhejiang province will use the methanol-gasoline blends, a high-clean fuel which now is cheaper by 0.5 yuan ($0.073) a liter than the common gasoline, said today.

Two fuel manufacturers have been designated for producing the methanol, and other preparatory projects are also underway. One of the enterprises for this pilot project is Huzhou Jinshan Fuel Company. Yesterday the company described the specifications and features of its high-clean methanol-gasoline fuel (M15) to eight auto-energy experts. The fuel product made by this company will be officially approved for promotion and application as alternative energy of the auto industry.

The initial scheme of the project shows that Zhejiang will select its provincial capital city of Hangzhou and three other cities for the pilot project. Some vehicles in the four cities will trial-run on the methanol-gasoline blends made by two fuel companies in the province. And this alternative fuel will be promoted for vehicle use in more cities if the trial program proves successful.

The pilot project for the methanol-gasoline fuel in Zhejiang province will focus on the high-clean methanol-gasoline fuel M15. The methanol made by Huzhou Jinshan Fuel Company can be mixed at a proportion of 15%-20% with gasoline to form the methanol-gasoline blends as vehicle fuel.

As a kind of new-generation high-tech fuel, the methanol-gasoline blends can be used for powering many cars, with no need to change or modify the vehicle's engine. Currently the high-clean methanol-gasoline M15 is cheaper by 0.5 yuan a liter than the common gasoline.

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Fuel tax reform to boost commercialization of new energy cars in China

Mon. December 29, 2008

New energy cars are expected to enjoy a good opportunity of large-scale commercialization in China fueled by the domestic fuel tax reform effective from the beginning of 2009.

At least eight Chinese automakers including Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC), First Automobile Works (FAW), Dongfeng, ChangAn, Chery, Geely, BYD and Great Wall are now making great efforts on research and development of new energy systems.

In fact, a group of new energy cars have already rolled off lines at Chery, ChangAn, Geely and BYD. BYD launched its first mass-produced plug-in hybrid car F3DM in mid-December and aroused worldwide attention.

Wan Gang, minister of Science and Technology, said in public that he hoped energy-saving and new energy cars would take up 10 percent of China's new car output by 2012.

In view of current circumstances, there is still a long way to go for new energy cars to realize large-scale commercialization. To accomplish this, the automakers need to make more efforts on R&D and marketing of new energy cars, while the government should take supportive measures and provide subsidies to help promote consumption of such cars. Besides, the construction of supporting facilities is necessary for new energy cars to keep their feet in the market.

The Chinese government encourages the development of new energy cars. The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) is mulling over a plan to boost China's auto industry. Included in the plan are contents to support new energy cars, especially electric cars.

According to Zhang Jinhua, a leading expert joining in a state energy-saving and new energy car project, the Ministry of Science and Technology and the Ministry of Finance plan to provide price subsidies to large-scale demonstration projects for buying new energy cars, effective possibly before January 26, also Spring Festival, the country's most important traditional holiday.

At present, different automakers take different paths on the development of new energy cars. FAW and ChangAn focus on hybrid car development. Dongfeng gives weight to both hybrid cars and electric cars. SAIC is moving towards hybrid cars and electric cars from its initial research on fuel cell cars, while BYD is concentrated on electric cars based on its advantage in rechargeable batteries.

Li Mengtao, an auto researcher from Sinolink Securities, consider electric cars the final right direction of new energy car development, with hybrid power only a transitional technology.

Hydrogen fuel cell car is also not a good choice as it is hard to meet the technology requirements and realize lot production, according to Xu Jian, vice president of Volkswagen China.

McKinsey, a leading consulting firm, said in a research report that China should prioritize the development of electric cars, considering automakers' research and development (R&D) capability and resource reserves.

Cheng Qingtai, a researcher with the Development Research Center of the State Council, said the government encourages the research on different power sources and will make the decision in the future. China will stay in a stage of coexistence of different kinds of new energy vehicles with diversified power sources and fuels by the year 2020. News/2101652/

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Chongqing develops auto-use ethanol gasoline

January 16, 2009

Shanghai, January 16 ( A new type of vehicle-use ethanol gasoline was successfully developed in Chongqing city recently and has been approved by industry experts and regulators for production, said today, citing the municipality's economic regulator.

This new type of ethanol gasoline is made out of industrial alcohol and its manufacturing cost is lower than the common type which is under use in some cities, said Chongqing Development and Reform Commission. The Renewable Energy Development Corporation of Chongqing City Construction Investment Corporation began to develop the vehicle-use ethanol gasoline three years ago.

The new type of ethanol gasoline is composed of 5% hydrous industrial alcohol, component oil of gasoline and a kind of self-developed compound additive. Vehicles that use this kind of ethanol gasoline will have the same power as from the common gasoline but can reduce the exhaust emissions by 30%.

The ethanol gasoline currently used by vehicles in some Chinese is made of the ethanol with water contents below 0.8%, but the cost of changing the industry alcohol into water-less ethanol is prohibitively higher.

Replacing the water-less ethanol with industry alcohol in the ethanol gasoline making will save more energy, cut the cost and obviate the need for water prevention in the special fuel's storage, shipping, sales and use.

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China to subsidize use of energy-efficient vehicles


BEIJING -- China is to promote the use of energy-efficient and new-energy vehicles in public sector in 13 cities, the Ministry of Finance (MOF) said here Monday.

According to a joint statement by the MOF and the Ministry of Science and Technology, the central government will offer one-off subsidy for the purchase of mixed-power, electric and fuel-cell vehicles.

The statement said the subsidy will be decided by the gap between the prices of energy-efficient vehicles and automobiles powered by traditional fuel.

The program will be put into trial in public transport, taxi industry, postal and urban sanitary services in 13 cities including Beijing and Shanghai.

The program is aimed at facilitating the technology upgrading and structural optimization of the automobile industry, said the statement.

Local governments should also allocate funds for the building and maintenance of related facilities, said the statement.

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China offers incentives to stimulate hybrid cars


China is to offer policy incentives to speed up spread of energy-saving cars in 13 pilot cities.

The ministries of finance and science and technology jointly issued a circular on providing subsidies to users of hybrid, electric and fuel cell cars in Beijing, Shanghai and another 11 major cities, the Ministry of Finance said on its website.

Public transport, taxi companies, post services and public offices were encouraged to use more energy-saving vehicles, the circular said.

The government promised to give companies and institutions, which purchase and use such vehicles, lump sum subsidies to offset their extra cost on fuelling efficient cars than ordinary ones.

Meanwhile, the central government urged local governments to subsidize the development and maintenance of energy-friendly cars.

This is considered the boldest measure the central government has ever taken to stimulate promotion of hybrid cars although the subsidies have yet to extend to private car users.

Due to much higher price tags on them, hybrid cars encountered cold shoulders in thriving domestic car market over the past few years.

While introducing mature hybrid products into the public transportation sector before the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008, China also adjusted its research and development plans as well as car industry policies in terms of spreading fuel-efficient engines and vehicles.

Long trained as a technologist in a German auto company, Minister of Science and Technology Wan Gang is an avid advocate for hybrid cars, and his ministry plays a key role in technological upgrading.

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China to offer cash rebate to green vehicle buyer

February 19, 2009

China has initiated a programme to promote the sales of green vehicles. The central government will offer cash rebates of up to 600,000 yuan ($87,850) to buyers of alternative energy passenger cars and buses in 13 major cities. Insiders say the move will help solve the current embarrassing situation in low emission vehicles.

The cash rebates will be offered in 13 major cities, including Beijing and Shanghai, during a trial period. The rebates will include vehicles powered by battery, hybrid technology and fuel cells. The move is aimed to reduce emissions, improve the country's vehicle manufacturing industry and stimulate demand.

The cities involved in the trial will promote these vehicles in the public service sector at first, such as buses and taxis. Vehicle buyers will receive a rebate for around 50-thousand yuan for a small hybrid passenger car. While the rebate for a large fuel cell powered commercial bus will be about 600-thousand yuan.

The government says the rebate system is designed to encourage all auto makers.

Wang Bao'an, director of Dept. of Economic Construction, MOF,says, "we won't designate an auto maker or a car model. We only set standards for the market entry."

China aims to promote the sale of over 60-thousand alternative energy vehicles within four years. Insiders say the rebates for vehicles purchased for the public sector will help boost more development of alternatives to petrol and diesel vehicles.

Wan Gang, Minister of Ministry of Science & Technology, says, "buses have played a crucial role in common people's daily lives. So we want to popularize alternative energy through the exemplary role of buses."

The promotion of alternative energy vehicles in China has been hindered by their high costs. Although these vehicles have had enough technology support, many consumers still can't afford them.

Shou Ziqi, director of Shanghai Association for Science & Technology, says, "the prices of battery powered cars are over two times of traditional ones. While prices of fuel cell powered cars stands at even five times. It's still hard to offset costs completely by saving fuel."

Insiders say the central government's cash rebates will help ease local governments' pressures in promoting such vehicles. But the transition to alternative energy powered vehicles still needs increased investment in related infrastructure development.

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Buses with 300-km battery range to debute in June


CHANGCHUN -- Seventy electric buses with double the maximum range of conventional electric cars will go into use in June in northeast China's Jilin Province, a researcher said Friday.

The bus, driven by a Lithium-ion battery, can travel more than 300 km on a 20-minute battery recharge, compared with 100-150 km for conventional electric cars that usually take more time to recharge, said Xie Haiming, a researcher with the Lithium-ion Battery Material S&T Innovation Center of Jilin Province.

Xie said the increased range was gained by using the advance LiFeP04 battery, which was safer and had a longer life than the widely-used lead acid cell.

The government of Liaoyuan was buying 20 of the 24-seat buses and the Changchun city government had ordered 50.

The 24-seat buses are being made jointly by the Tongkun New Energy Technologies Co., Ltd and FAW Bus and Coach Company and will run on the roads in the provincial capital of Changchun City, and Liaoyuan, about 200 km to the south of Changchun, as of June.

Xie said such a bus would sell 500,000 yuan (US$73,145).

"The cost for every 100 km of travel by the new bus is 35 yuan, much lower than 120 yuan by petrol-driven buses," Xie said.

The battery on the new bus can be recharged up to 2,000 times for just 20 minutes each time, making it a good power supply for buses and taxies,Xie said.
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