Sunday, June 13, 2010

China�"s Push for Hybrid and Electric Cars, But Will Anyone Buy?

Beijing Traffic

Beijing traffic

In announcing an ambitious round of subsidies for green vehicles earlier this month, the Chinese government made it clear that the country isn't just paying lip service to fuel efficiency. China intends to compete both domestically and internationally in the hybrid and electric vehicle market, even if it means playing catch-up.

The domestic incentives provide discounts of $8,800 for plug-in electric vehicles, $7,350 for hybrids, and up to $36,750 for fuel cell vehicles. China was successful with a general vehicle subsidy last year that helped the country surpass the United States as the world's largest auto market for the first time in history.

At a recent U.S. China Automotive Conference, the technology gap between China and the United States on hybrids and electric vehicles generated a lot of discussion. "In terms of engineering capability, the U.S. is leading, but China is very fast in adopting the technology," said mechanical engineering professor, Jun Ni, to the Detroit Free Press.

As an export-driven economy, China knows that if it wants to compete in the international car market, it will have to make quality cars that are safe, fuel efficient, and cost competitive. Chinese exports have never had a problem competing on price, but when it comes to autos, Americans will be concerned about the safety and reliability of Chinese cars�regardless of how much money they might save.

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