Chinese car company Chery is slated to launch an all-electric car this fall
In a push to corner the electric car in the world’s largest automobile market, Chinese senior officials have announced plans to put annual production of electric cars up to 1 million by 2020. According to the Minister of Science and Technology, Wan Gang, 70% of China’s air pollution comes from automobile exhaust. Couple that with the fastest growing car market in the world (projections put new vehicle purchases this year at 16 million, over 40% growth over last year) and this proposed $17 billion effort by Beijing begins to make sense.
Like other recent green initiatives, the push to go electric is probably driven less by environmental concerns, and more by the desire to reduce their reliance on oil, foster domestic growth, and pioneer a market that promises to grow not only in China, but the rest of the world. Improving the air quality couldn’t hurt either.
Pilot programs to build up and test the necessary battery recharging infrastructure are already in place in 26 cities across China, and new car-buyers are eligible for up to $8,800 worth of subsidies.
China’s not the only player stepping into the market, and there are a host of international companies clamoring for their spot. Models already on the market are far more practical than our previous experiences with electronic cars in China. The Nissan’s Leaf and GM’s Volt are both scheduled for release in China next year, and VW has big plans for its all-electric Lavida.
What does this mean for us? Besides conjuring nightmares of silent electric taxis careening through red lights and around corners, let’s hope for a distinguishable shadow now and then.