Nissan proporcionaría gratis los vehículos eléctricos a Wuhan y ayudaría a desarrollar una red de recarga, aunque se desconoce cuántos automóviles serán o el importe del proyecto.
El acuerdo forma parte de los esfuerzos de China para promocionar los vehículos eléctricos puros o los híbridos enchufables. El gobierno de China anima a su propia industria automovilística a cambiar a tales vehículos eléctricos, creyendo que los fabricantes pueden usar esta tecnología para estrechar la brecha con los mayores rivales extranjeros.
Beijing anunció el mes pasado un plan de la industria automovilística para crear la capacidad para producir 500.000 vehículos eléctricos puros o híbridos enchufables en 2011.
Para Nissan, el proyecto serviría para introducir sus propios autos eléctricos y posiblemente subvenciones para construir fábricas que produzcan sus baterías y automóviles eléctricos en China.
Wuhan, que tiene una población de nueve millones, está entre las 13 ciudades recientemente escogidas por el gobierno chino para un programa piloto de vehículos eléctricos. Entre esas ciudades están Beijing, Shangai y Chongqing, las mayores del país, y se espera que proporcionen ayudas a las compras de híbridos enchufables y eléctricos puros. En total, se espera introducir 60.000 nuevos vehículos eléctricos en cuatro años.
La política china también beneficia a las empresas nacionales, como BYD o Chery, que a partir de un mercado nacional en auge, darán el salto hacia la conquista de los mercados internacionales, compitiendo sobre todo en costes.
Según un comunicado remitido por los fabricantes, el plan se establecerá en trece ciudades chinas, en tanto que Wuhan, con más de nueve millones de habitantes y capital de la provincia central de Hubei, será la pionera en implantar el sistema, que empezará a usarse en 2011.
La firma nipona, de la que Renault controla el 44 por ciento, ya tiene rubricados acuerdos de esta naturaleza con gobiernos de otros 10 países, incluyendo Estados Unidos, Portugal, Dinamarca y Japón. El pacto servirá también para que Renault-Nissan, una alianza que recientemente cumplió diez años, exporte vehículos eléctricos a China.
China superó el pasado mes de enero a Estados Unidos como el país del mundo en el que más automóviles se vendieron, con 2,2 millones de unidades nuevas en el primer trimestre de 2009. El Gobierno chino está desarrollando un proyecto para llegar a producir medio millón de vehículos eléctricos en los próximos tres años, en un intento de competir con los países con tecnologías de motor más avanzadas y para luchar contra la contaminación ambiental que afecta a buena parte de las ciudades del país.
Nissan Will Help China Set Up Electric-Car Project
BEIJING — Nissan Motor Co. is expected to sign an agreement to help set up an electric-car program in a major Chinese city, in an unusual partnership between the Chinese government and a foreign company to further Beijing’s efforts to develop environmentally friendly automobile technology.
Under the deal, which could be signed as early as Friday, Nissan would work with China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and the government of Wuhan to cooperate on a pilot electric-vehicle program in the central Chinese city, according to people familiar with the matter.
Nissan is expected to provide free electric vehicles to Wuhan and to help develop a network of vehicle-charging stations, the people said. It isn’t clear how many cars or how much money the project involves. Nissan and the industry ministry are also expected to sign a memorandum of understanding to jointly explore ways to make electric vehicles popular in China.
The planned agreements are part of China’s efforts to promote vehicles powered at least partly by batteries. China’s government is encouraging its own auto industry to shift to such electric vehicles, believing auto makers can use the technology to narrow the gap with bigger foreign rivals. Beijing last month unveiled an auto-industry plan to create capacity to produce 500,000 "new energy" vehicles, such as all-electric battery cars and plug-in electric hybrid vehicles by 2011.
For Nissan, the project could provide a toehold in China for its electric cars and possibly subsidies for building factories to produce batteries and finished cars locally.
Wuhan, which has a population of nine million, is among 13 cities recently chosen by the Chinese government for a pilot program to boost use of new-energy vehicles. Those cities — which also include Beijing, Shanghai and Chongqing, the country’s biggest municipalities — are supposed to provide subsidies for purchases of all-electric battery cars and plug-in hybrids. They are expected to collectively put 60,000 new-energy vehicles in service in four years.
The ministry of industry believes China could learn from Nissan, an experienced advocate of electric propulsion with plans for a big global push for its line of small battery cars starting in 2010. By that year, the company is expected to start marketing a compact all-electric battery car to corporate-fleet customers in the U.S. and Japan. People familiar with the planned Nissan agreement said the joint effort could be extended to more cities, such as Beijing.
In China, Nissan plans to launch the same compact battery car as early as 2011 and is considering building factories to produce batteries and the entire car in China — something Nissan wants to accomplish over the next few years to "be cost competitive," according to a senior company executive. Some auto makers believe that by 2020, 10% to 20% of China’s passenger-auto sales will come from electric cars, plug-in electric hybrids and other new-energy cars.
Nissan and its biggest shareholder, France’s Renault SA, have been signing agreements with city and national governments in several countries to promote electrified vehicles. What distinguishes the Wuhan project is its potential scale and the fact that China has the power to promote electrified vehicles in ways that other governments can’t or choose not to.
The planned Wuhan program is expected to be patterned on a program currently being implemented in Nissan’s home prefecture of Kanagawa, just south of Tokyo, according to people familiar with the matter. Kanagawa plans to install 1,000 charge stations by 2014. Kanagawa Gov. Shigefumi Matsuzawa is expected to deliver a speech Friday at an electric-vehicle forum in Beijing, where the Wuhan plan is expected to be announced.
Kanagawa offers lessons for China because, like in most Chinese cities, few homes in Kanagawa have garages or other facilities in which to charge electrified plug-in cars. Like Kanagawa, people familiar with the matter said, Wuhan would likely experiment with various types of electric charging stations.
BYD encouraged by Chinese green car commitment
Build Your Dreams (BYD) Auto Chief Wang Chuanfu has welcomed the Chinese government’s policy of subsidising green cars that will be implemented in the second half of this year.
Speaking to the South China Morning Post, Chuanfu stated that sales of green cars will be lifted if the government’s policy can extend to individual customers. He believes that the government should subsidise as much as 30,000 Yuan for the cost of each car that runs on an alternative powertrain in an effort to encourage sales.
The Chinese government has agreed to a series of measures intended to boost auto market demand. It has already announced a tax cut of five per cent for vehicles with engines below 1.6 litres and offers subsidies for rural residents buying greener cars. Now its latest stimulus package involves a $1.5billion research subsidy plan over three years for car manufacturers to improve their electric vehicle technology.
The aim for China is to produce 500,000 new energy vehicles this year and increase the sales of the cars which currently account for around five per cent of overall market sales. Chinese automakers are expected to narrow the gap to their foreign counterparts.
Several manufacturers have already announced plans to make green cars while BYD Auto and Chery Auto have launched green vehicles of their own.
BYD began selling its F3DM hybrid electric car in December last year. It is capable of travelling 62 miles on electric power only and the company plans to release two more electric models before the end of 2009.
Chery Auto meanwhile rolled out its own plug-in electric car model, the Chery S18, in February this year with a 150km range on a single charge.
April 11, 2009
China Details Incentive Plan for Electric Cars
By KEITH BRADSHER
BEIJING — Senior Chinese officials on Friday outlined how they aimed to turn their country into the world’s largest producer of electric cars, including a focus on consumer choice rather than corporate subsidies.
Speaking at a conference at the government’s prestigious Diaoyutai guesthouse here, the officials acknowledged that their efforts faced challenges in terms of the cost and safety of electric cars. They promised a nationwide effort by manufacturers, universities, research institutes and government agencies to overcome these obstacles.
Wan Gang, a former Audi engineer in Germany who is now China’s minister of science and technology, portrayed the country’s electric car initiative as central to China’s international competitiveness, but said that there were environmental goals as well.
“We need to be sustainable in different sectors, particularly in the auto sector,” he said.
Zhang Shaochun, a vice minister of finance, said that the government wanted to let the market determine which electric vehicle models would become popular. So while the government is providing some research subsidies, the main step will be to provide very large subsidies for buyers of electric cars — already up to 60,000 yuan, or $8,800, for purchases by taxi fleets and local government agencies.
“The fiscal subsidy gives voting rights to the consumer,” he said.
China also has a 10 billion yuan ($1.46 billion) program to help the industry with automotive innovation.
In the United States, the government is providing $25 billion to help cover Detroit’s research costs in the coming years.
Mr. Zhang said that with a greater emphasis on incentives for electric car buyers, “we will cut back on the discretionary power of government agencies — otherwise, the companies will just fight for subsidies.”
Chinese and foreign automakers have embarked on a slew of demonstration projects for electric cars, with Nissan announcing one Friday in Wuhan, a city in central China. But very few electric cars are on the road in China yet.
While electric cars are rapidly improving, they remain roughly twice as expensive as similarly sized gasoline-powered cars that also provide greater range, higher top speeds and better records for reliability. Mr. Wan, the minister of science and technology, raised another concern Friday when he noted that the industry had to look at safety as it seeks to make electric cars ever lighter.
Electric car makers may find it easier to gain a following in the Chinese market than in other countries. First-time buyers in China are less accustomed to the power of gasoline-powered cars; most commutes are short and slow because of traffic jams; and Chinese law makes it hard for consumers to sue automakers for safety problems.
Miao Wei, the vice minister for industry and information technology, said at the conference that automotive sales and production set records last month; the previous records for both were set in March of last year.
Sales and production were running at an annualized rate of about 11 million vehicles last month, Mr. Miao said, indicating the previous records were narrowly beaten. In the United States last month, sales were running at an annualized rate of 10 million.
On Thursday, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said passenger car sales rose 10 percent in March from a year earlier. The group said sales of cars, minivans and multipurpose vehicles rose to a record 772,400. Including trucks and buses, vehicle sales were up 5 percent to 1.11 million units.
Yale Zhang, a China specialist at CSM Worldwide, a vehicle market forecasting service, said that sales of small cars and small minibuses had surged because of a tax cut on vehicles with engines of less than 1.6 liters and because of a $730 subsidy introduced last month for car buyers in rural areas.
Mr. Miao, a former chairman of Dongfeng Motor, one of China’s biggest automakers, said that the ever-growing fleet of China posed three problems: air pollution, rising consumption of imported oil and traffic congestion.
“If these three bottlenecks cannot be addressed, the Chinese auto industry cannot grow sustainably,” he said.
Alternative-energy vehicles “are the only way out to address these challenges,” he said, without explaining how a shift from gasoline-powered cars to electric cars would address the chronic traffic jams in Chinese cities.