Riding on a Green Dream Beijing Review

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Chery QQ3 EV Electric Cars

SHINING DEBUT: A customer checks out by a JAC plug-in hybrid car at the 14th Shanghai Auto Show on April 26, 2011 (PEI XIN)

Take a walk along the streets of Hefei and chances are you will see a steady stream of new-energy vehicles manufactured by Jianghuai Automobile Co. Ltd. (JAC).

As the petrol price continues to rise, new-energy vehicles are much better options compared with similar level petrol-powered cars for consumers in cities like Hefei, said Mei Hanbing, owner of JAC new-energy cars in Hefei, capital city of east China’s Anhui Province.

He estimated that having a new-energy car would save consumers as much as 9,000-10,000 yuan ($1,431-1,590) on an average annual mileage of 20,000 km.

While JAC was not a pioneer in new-energy car development, it has been instrumental in spearheading efforts at commercializing the vehicles. JAC was focusing on new-energy vehicle research as early as 2002 and set industrializing pure electric cars as its priority in 2009. In December 2010, the Chinese homegrown automaker produced 585 first-generation J3 electric vehicles (EVs) for private ownership, claiming to be the first automaker to commercialize electric vehicles on a large scale.

A year later 1,000 second-generation J3 EVs were made and sold, while on September 29, JAC produced 500 third-generation J3 EVs.

Thanks to JAC’s achievement in commercializing electric vehicles, Hefei has rolled out of a demo project promoting new-energy vehicles for private use in 10 cities across China.

New-energy trend

At the 2012 International Forum on Chinese Automotive Industry Development held from August 31 to September 2 in north China’s Tianjin, Wan Gang, Minister of Science and Technology, said that while the auto industry had become one of the country’s pillar industries, China faced chronic air pollution, carbon emissions, fuel consumption and traffic jams. Currently, the contradiction between huge demand for vehicles and severe energy shortage as well as strict emission controls is becoming critical. So it is imperative to boost the development of the new-energy auto sector, Wan said.

According to a report on the new-energy auto industry released by Zheshang Securities Co. Ltd. in March, the number of registered cars in China soared from 11.8 million to 19 million during the 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-10), increasing by 10 percent year on year. However, only 54 out of 1,000 people own cars in China, much lower than the world average level, suggesting huge market potential for automobiles.

This also suggests massive pressure on fuel supplies.

The report said the consumption of vehicle fuels would hit 25 million tons by 2020. What’s more, China’s fuel consumption heavily depends on imports. About 56 percent of crude oil used in China were imported in 2011, and by 2030, the number will reach 70 percent.

Additional pressure on the auto industry comes in the form of stricter emission controls ,as the Chinese Government pledged to cut carbon emission per unit of the GDP by 40-50 percent by 2020.

All of these pressures, as well as opportunities, are urging auto makers to make significant breakthroughs in core technologies of developing new-energy vehicles and boost their application, said Jiang Min, a product programming engineer in JAC.

A rise in petrol price since March further turned the spotlight on new-energy cars.

In the context of increasingly soaring petrol demands and a turbulent international situation, it is predictable that the price of petrol, a non-renewable resource, will go up for a long time in the future, said Peng Wei, an analyst with Ping An Securities. Peng believes a sustained increase in the petrol price will inevitably transfer the current consumption patterns on vehicles to an energy-saving-oriented one.

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