Imagine all of the cars and light-duty trucks in Washington and Oregon combined. Then imagine them all being either battery-electric vehicles or plug-in hybrids. That's what Chinese leaders have in mind by the end of the decade.

The China State Council is pushing for a combination of automotive industry production and public acceptance to allow for as many as five million plug-in vehicles to be on the roads in China by 2020, Green Car Congress reports.

The Chinese government is also looking to boost average new-car fuel economy to about 47 miles per gallon in 2020 from about 34 miles per gallon in 2015, when the State Council is targeting for about a half-million vehicles to be electric drive.

China will enact a combination of research and development funding and subsidies that will be used to boost sales of plug-ins. The government will also speed up the development of an electric-vehicle charging infrastructure and will tilt tax policies to be more plug-in friendly.

China was already expected to account for a substantial chunk of the more than 600,000 plug-in vehicles expected to be sold in Asia Pacific by 2017, as forecast by green-technology research firm Pike Research last year. The auto industry is certainly getting ready. This month, General Motors debuted a demonstration fleet of Chevrolet Volt extended-range plug-in vehicles in China. GM and the China Automotive Technology Research Center (CATARC) will operate and study the fleet for about a year. At the Beijing Motor Show this week, a number of plug-in vehicles were on display, like the CH Auto Lithia and the Venucia E-Concept.


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  • 32 Comments
      Marco Polo
      • 2 Years Ago
      Whenever green politicians, advocate, and supporters gather, there is an outpouring of admiration and unrealistic expectations about the PRC's commitment to EV's and alternate technology. Partly this is driven by wishful thinking, partly a residual of leftist fellow traveller ideology, and lastly, effective PRC propaganda. In fact the PRC has only two interests in alternate energy. Defence, and Economic. The environment is a very, very minor consideration. The PRC is building the world's largest coal-fired electricity generation system. Nearly 150% larger than the rest of the world combined. The PRC has diverted funds from Solar and Wind, in to Bio-fuel production. Huge investments are being made into new oil and gas refineries. With an average per capita income of less than $6000 p.a. , consumer spending is heavily concentrated in a few rich urban areas. The PRC, has comparatively low R&D expenditure, (why invent, when it's cheaper to copy) and due to it's style of education, cultural and political dynamics, The PRC produces very little in the way of technical innovation. Future predictions by the Beijing Government or the CCP, must be taken as indications of hope at the best, but more probably are simply telling the audience what it wants to hear ! .
      SNP
      • 2 Years Ago
      OMG the chinese govt is so damn stupid. It's like bush era officials giving out estimates. The current plugin market in the US/Europe/Japan/China combined is like 1% of the alternative drive-train market. And that market is less than 2% of the overall annual sales rate. Even smaller in china. Total current US plugin market can be summed up with 2 vehicles (volt, leaf). In summary, China will not be able to get 5M plugin vehicles by 2020. Autoblog, stop posting reports from PIKE research. Their research has little to no merit.
        DaveMart
        • 2 Years Ago
        @SNP
        The figures they give are at any rate considerably better than those you offer! :-) Annual world car production is around 75 million vehicles. 1% of that is 750,000 vehicles, 2% of that is 15,000. The Leaf alone is more than that per year in annual build rate, as are Mitsubishi and the monthly totals of the Volt indicate that they may build around 20,000 this year.
        Spec
        • 2 Years Ago
        @SNP
        "pushing for a combination of automotive industry production and public acceptance to allow for as many as five million plug-in vehicles" It is a goal that they are pushing for, not something they expect. They might hit it, they might not. You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink. Whether the number gets hit or not will really depend on gasoline prices. And if gas prices continue to rise steadily, they could easily end up with more EVs than that. It is not a linear thing . . . at certain point it become painfully obvious that an EV is a much better economic decision than a gas vehicle.
      Dave D
      • 2 Years Ago
      If you've ever spent time in China and the giant smog bank they live in 363 days a year (not a typo, the sun came out twice last year), you'd understand their push. Hell, they'd mandate Unicorns if they could find a way to produce them. They are totally screwed in a no win situation because their growth requires huge leaps in energy, but they fear the next revolution when everyone realizes they are being poisoned and they all have cancer by 2025. Of course, they also fear the revolution if they keep denying their people a decent standard of living. People need to blame someone for something. Their leaders are F'ed. Of course, that is why you'll see them manufacture a war in the South China Sea....to get everyone to pay attention to that and rally around their beloved leaders. Time honored strategy in gov'ts the world over. Do you think Reagan really needed to invade Grenada? Did they even pull the med students out? No, not all of them, they forgot a few sites and nobody even cared. It was an excuse to get us all pulled together again and grow national pride. If we'll do it, you think the Chinese won't? Just a matter of when.
        Spec
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Dave D
        Yeah, the South China sea will be an interesting area of dispute. If there is oil there, then the stakes go up massively.
        Scambuster
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Dave D
        Dave D: No one has reported that China has instigated, incited, manufactured, or waging a war in the South China Sea. While the US Navy has warships in the South China Sea, the China has not a single warship in the Gulf of Mexico or along America's Pacific and Atlantic coast. While USA is waging 4 wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, and Pakistan and has nearly one hundred military bases outside of USA, China has none. It is amazing how many Americans are brainwashed by the special interests whose propaganda have portrayed China as the military aggressor in the world when the facts point to USA as the bully.
      Tim W.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Coincidentally, China is investing heavily in thorium research and wants to have commercial (mass-produced) LFTR reactors up and running by 2020. Electricity cheaper than coal with no emissions powering cities and cars. Such a shame the USA decided to abandon that tech 40 years ago. :-/
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Tim W.
        No..China has more control on its people than any democratic country. It just requires a rule stating use of Plug in Vehicles and chinese people will start using plug in vehicles without questioning the government.
          DaveMart
          • 2 Years Ago
          People in China frequently ignore or circumvent Government regulations, These are not the days of Mao. Just the same China just like Europe has more room to enforce change than the US in transport, as restricting use impacts less as they are less car dependent and so can raise petrol prices, restrict registrations and so on. It also has favourable factors in addition to those which Europe has, as per capita the car fleet is small compared to in the OECD. If, as I expect, oil prices are high and supplies restricted over the next few years then upping the proportion of new cars which are hybrids or BEVs would impact the overall fleet much more than in the US or Europe, simply because of the sheer size of the existing fleets in both countries. Countries with rapidly expanding economies can change much more swiftly than those whose growth is slower. Purely for the purpose of illustrating this point the US has a vehicle fleet of ~250 million, China less than 100 million. China also builds more new vehicles per year than the US, so if, say, more economical vehicles took 50% of the new car market in both countries then the impact for China is much greater.
      goodoldgorr
      • 2 Years Ago
      They probably have even bigger plant then this for hydrogen fuelcell that will begin here in 2015, this article do not cover it. China have to be careful about his energy policy given the number of citizen they have and the actual level of pollution so they have to make a good choice
      Spec
      • 2 Years Ago
      China takes peak oil seriously. They see how fast their car driving population is growing and they see how slow oil production is growing so they are trying to find ways to reconcile the two. We are largely in denial about it. The CAFE requirements going up was a good move though. But mostly we just think we can go on with 'business as usual'. The market will not allow that. And so we make up all sorts of crazy conspiracy theories as to why gas prices keep going up: It's Obama's fault, it is the big oil companies fault, it is speculators, it is the EPA, it is tree-huggers stopping drilling, it is OPEC, etc. The real situation is very simple . . . supply & demand. And no, there is no magic way to significantly increase supply by closing the EPA or opening ANWR.
        mylexicon
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Spec
        You are saying what you want to say, but it doesn't reflect the fundamentals, and it doesn't even jive with the premise of this article. Speculation is the reason for the price of oil. The demand projections are substantially less than they were in 2007 when everyone thought we could keep printing money for another 2 decades, and the Chinese could keep growing 5% per annum without rampant inflation. The gap between the pre-2007 global projections and current depressed demand is being bridged by gambling on Iran complications, hurricane season, and economic recovery. That's not to say that one of these things won't come to pass, but supply/demand has little to do with the oil market anymore. President's don't block Canadian pipelines when they are worried about $10 gasoline and peak oil. President's block pipelines when the fundamentals point towards $80 oil, and they know that the Canadians are planning to be the top 3-4 oil producing nations, by doubling their production before the decade is out. The people in denial are the speculators who refuse to believe that contango finally came to a halt in November 2011.
          Spec
          • 2 Years Ago
          @mylexicon
          @mylexicon No. Speculation adds a little froth to the price but it can't result in a sustained high price. Speculators need to close their contracts in the end that selling pushes the price down. " by gambling on Iran complications, hurricane season, and economic recovery. That's not to say that one of these things won't come to pass, but supply/demand has little to do with the oil market anymore. " Those statements contradict each other. Iran sanctions = less SUPPLY from Iran. Hurricane that knocks out a refinery = less SUPPLY. Economic recover = more DEMAND. Speculators buying oil because they feel something will reduce supply = increased DEMAND. Speculator selling back a contract = increased SUPPLY. It is supply & demand. Yes, some of these factors are transient (like the speculation) but others are consistent (conventional oil production slowing, continued demand from Asia, etc.) Ignore the transient ones . . they are transient. But focus on the longer-term consistent ones. "Still, many people in the green scene have a ridiculous notion that supply/demand is going to lead to sustained $200 oil prices," It will happen eventually. 10 years ago the prospect of sustained $80/barrel prices would seem absurd. It is reality now. "If someone makes a viable rapid recharge battery that eliminates range anxiety, and BEVs and plug-ins start to sell in large quantities, the oil markets will collapse. The end game is actually cheap oil b/c no one really wants or needs it." Wrong. They'll hit near equilibrium and stay near there probably. There are many people that will stubbornly stick to their gas cars no matter what. And there are many applications that can't use batteries. You can't fly a 747 on batteries. You can't drive an 18-wheeler across the countries with batteries. Oil prices will rise until they hit a point where people start transitioning because it is the wise thing to do. But it won't plummet because the transition would stop. And it won't go much higher because people would transition faster. It will sit in a range wherein people will transition when their current gas car dies.
          Spec
          • 2 Years Ago
          @mylexicon
          I think Dave D is pointing to a big error in your view . . . the USA's demand is not the big dog it once was. Oil prices have gone up lately even as the USA's demand/consumption has dropped. China, India, other growing asian nations, and the consumption of the oil producers themselves are eating up the amount of oil that is available for us to purchase on the export market. So the price of oil can keep going up even though we may continue to buy less. I also don't think the dollar has devalued as much as you think it has. If the dollar is so worthless then why have housing prices continued to drop in dollar value? Wages have been flat too. If inflation was strong, you'd see prices up across the board. But instead, prices are up strongly only in certain sectors such as oil (because of weak supply and lots of INTERNATIONAL demand) and gold (because of lots of paranoid investors). But housing, HDTVs, wages, etc. . . . not up . . . down or flat. Japan's situation changed because they have an aging and shrinking population. And they became like us . . . a high wage market that is losing its industrial base to its neighbors. Sure . . . China will eventually stop growing as fast as it is . . . but not yet. It still has plenty of room to climb up the economic ladder.
          mylexicon
          • 2 Years Ago
          @mylexicon
          Contango reversed in November 2011 when the speculators finally reinflated the bubble from 2008, and the long term profitability of oil speculation was questionable. Investment houses have a vested interest in continuing their oil strategies over the last 3 years b/c they have been lucratively profitable, thus speculators have pushed hard for higher oil prices with bogus forecasts, which have drawn cat calls from an administration that isn't necessarily opposed to high oil prices. Regardless, the underlying problem is a childish belief that high oil prices are a panacea for green energy, though the exact opposite has proven to be the case. $4 gasoline sparked an economic collapse, which ultimately led to lower gasoline prices and a bump in SUV purchases. Furthermore, long term oil trends generally show that oil spikes eventually yield to moderate price increases over time as society improves efficiency. Rampant speculation will eventually collapse barring a cataclysm of some kind. Still, many people in the green scene have a ridiculous notion that supply/demand is going to lead to sustained $200 oil prices, and the whole world will fall on their faces and repent. Nevermind that simultaneous belief in $200 oil and green energy is patently absurd. If someone makes a viable rapid recharge battery that eliminates range anxiety, and BEVs and plug-ins start to sell in large quantities, the oil markets will collapse. The end game is actually cheap oil b/c no one really wants or needs it. But cheap oil doesn't really jive with the wet dream of judgment day for oil wasters, does it?
          Dave D
          • 2 Years Ago
          @mylexicon
          What happened in November to stop cantango? I must have missed something. Some new law? Even if that were true, it could only apply to the US and would have no affect on international players playing the game.
          mylexicon
          • 2 Years Ago
          @mylexicon
          Do you want to know why $80 oil seemed impossible 10 years ago? B/c no one believed that the United States would print $10T in one decade, and let its balance of trade deteriorate to a $750B deficit (for finished goods and inefficient oil consumption). Furthermore, no one believed that China would bleed America dry or become a mercantile resource hoarder (b/c we all know what mercantilism leads to). Sadly, it all came to pass, and the results were predictable. The US nearly bought the farm. China, Brazil, and Japan were nearly left with several trillion bucks in worthless US debt. The underlying economics, which have been driving oil to prices above $120 per barrel, are temporary and cannot be sustained. Our trading partners will probably help us return to a sane era, when we ran modest deficits (1%-2% GDP) to support global growth, not 5% trade deficits. Global growth will slow, but the trade off is cheaper oil (CAFE will decrease demand, and currency alignment will create more purchasing power) for developing countries and lower inflation for China. Japan has already adjusted its monetary policy and current account activity. The EU has made some changes as well. China continues to lag, but they probably will. CAFE will take care of our oil trade deficit, by reducing imports $68B in 2030. Don't know if that last part will come to pass, but I point it out to suggest you are saying what you want to say, and ignoring the slightly-unrealistic optimism of the fundamentals. Why haven't the oil markets adjusted? B/c the SUV zombies and the insanity of the "currency wars" have caused traders to completely loose the plot. It will take a very rude awakening for them to snap out of it. The oil collapse was ugly, but they won't stop until they see economic growth and falling demand. They will jump likes rats from a sinking ship. Some of them know it is on the horizon, but who is going to bet against the possibility of harsh hurricanes, frivolous summer driving, or political unrest? If we make it to the 4th quarter of this year, without any major upheaval, spot price for Brent crude will probably lease to 2011 prices ($105 or less). This is a replay of last year. Oil demand rose sharply in 2010. Speculation ran amuck. Brent traded at $120 before dropping to $95 in September, and WTI dropped from $110 to $75. US demand fell in 2011, and it is falling again this year.
          Dave D
          • 2 Years Ago
          @mylexicon
          sorry, contango... not cantango. Where is the damn edit button guys????
        Sasparilla Fizz
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Spec
        Excellent points Spec, both about China and the U.S..
        Dave D
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Spec
        @mylexicon, There are short term drivers and long term drivers in the price of oil. Short term, speculation is clearly the driver and causes the wild fluctuations we see which gather the most publicity. The long term trend is clearly up as well, and those are the things that Spec is addressing. He's not wrong, simply referring to the long term component of the price.
        SVX pearlie
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Spec
        China has save oil for *important* usage - intercity & transnational transportation. That can't be done on an EV basis. By 2020, I would not be surprised to find China have more EVs & hybrids on the road than the US or Europe.
        Dave D
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Spec
        Spec, What have I told you about bringing facts to these arguments? Will you stop that! Please stick to rants, raves and hysterical conspiracy theories. Thank you, the Management
      • 2 Years Ago
      I feel bad for anyone born into that immense heartless rat race.
      Edge
      • 2 Years Ago
      Any EV's offered in China so far have sold in extremely small numbers. It will take a miracle for the Chinese to pull this off.
        nbsr
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Edge
        That's cars. But we are talking about China - in Beijing most people ride all sorts of bikes and bicycles. From what I've seen there last year, most scooters and ~50% of bicycles were electric, and that means there were *lots* of them everywhere. It looked like all these bikes and bicycles were used for economic reasons (cheap ride), so it may take a while before we see a mass adoption of electric cars in China. OTOH, once they get cheaper, they will flood the market just like bikes have already done.
      Dave D
      • 2 Years Ago
      You are WAY too smart to be sitting here telling me that US demand is the only determinant in oil prices! So you are now going to claim that the long term global demand and it's steady rise has nothing to do with the steady increase in oil prices over decades??? Are you also going to claim that having to drill in yet harder and harder to reach places as "conventional oil" is used up isn't affecting oil prices? http://www.google.com/imgres?hl=en&sa=X&rlz=1C1AFAB_enUS452US452&biw=1920&bih=1017&tbm=isch&prmd=imvns&tbnid=CQIEpmwuR0EnyM:&imgrefurl=http://www.internetional.se/opec.htm&docid=lernivJu8W1wYM&imgurl=http://www.internetional.se/images/07-07-10_world_oil_demand.png&w=554&h=357&ei=ra2cT4arBuHGmQXQ56ShDg&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=595&vpy=167&dur=5315&hovh=180&hovw=280&tx=180&ty=116&sig=115720696204147951618&page=1&tbnh=131&tbnw=203&start=0&ndsp=40&ved=1t:429,r:2,s:0,i:71
      mylexicon
      • 2 Years Ago
      "It will be 1986 all over again, but with a much higher price floor ($85 Brent?)" I believe I addressed cost-push inflation, and the long-term devaluation of the dollar. Oil prices should ease substantially, but the price floor will be higher b/c oil production costs have risen, and the US dollar isn't terribly strong.
      Rick
      • 2 Years Ago
      BYD, which stands for Build Your Dream, is known as the pioneer of electric vehicles in China. The company had high expectations for the F3DM and had hoped to sell up to 1,000 units. Even combined with an incentive backed by the central government, the company sold fewer than 500 electric cars in 2010 in China. BYD China sold 500 EV's wow!! that enough to fill my small road in England. Shenzhen in South China's Guangdong province, where BYD's headquarters is located, four charging stations were built and 180 charging pillars were installed by the end of November 2010. But this wasn't the tipping point for many consumers. http://usa.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2011-05/19/content_12539960.htm 180 charging points for 5 million predicted electric cars it will all end in tears.
        Spec
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Rick
        Charging points don't attract EV buyers. High gas prices and low battery prices do.
      mylexicon
      • 2 Years Ago
      What long term trend points to high oil prices? Go look, you won't find any, unless it's just layman's wisdom or outdated economic conventions. The US has shed 10% oil demand in 5 years since peak travel in 2005-2006, yet CAFE 2025 hasn't even been signed into law. December 2011 saw the biggest year-on-year decline (Dec 2011 vs Dec 2011) at 4.6% since the 2009 recession. Demand so far this year? -2%, and the lowest 1st quarter demand in 15 years (pending adjustments) with an annual projection of just 18,400,000 bbl/day, based on the 1st quarter (1996 levels). US Fleet economy? All-time high, up 20% in five years, before most of CAFE has kicked in. What did OPEC predict for 2012? 2% oil demand growth in the US, "realistically" downgraded to 1.6% growth. There is no reality in the oil markets, short term or long term. Traders, forecasters, and oil producers are partying. They didn't even notice when the Chinese tightened oil quotas for transportation--a mere inconvenience when you have contagion effect and bunk forecasting on your side. The US will stop printing money, balance its trade (reduce global growth), and reduce oil demand by a further 15%-20% over the next decade. New hybrid vehicles and EVs built for the US market will have a knock-on effect throughout the developed world and developing world. It will be 1986 all over again, but with a much higher price floor ($85 Brent?) If the US doesn't get its act together, it will cease to exist, and oil demand will plummet off the face of the earth anyway. Oil volatility (downward) could eventually lead to a political cataclysm that reduces oil supply, but that has nothing to do with structural supply/demand or peak oil, and everything to do with binge-drinking oil traders and oil-producing governments who inject economic volatility into socially volatile nations. Political unrest will probably be mitigated by Canada, who are anxious to sell off their oil sands before alt energy becomes a reality.
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