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In China, the government tries to keep a tight reign on what companies can produce and sell. For example companies aren't allowed to get into the car business without prior approval from Beijing which is why the company trying to buy Hummer from General Motors is having a tough time right now. Companies that are already in the car business also have to get approval for new types of products like hybrids and EVs.

The authorities in Beijing have just revised the rules governing classification of some types of so-called "new energy" vehicles. There are now three main categories: mature technology, developing, and start-up technology. Mature technology includes hybrids with NiMH or lead acid batteries and these are now being treated as conventional products and can be produced at will. Developing technologies like lithium ion hybrids can now be produced but approval is required before they can actually be sold, which seems a bit odd. Why produce them if you can't sell them? Start-up tech includes fuel cells which are still largely at the research phase in China. The Chinese government wants five percent of all new vehicles sold in 2011 to include some kind of alternative drive system.

[Source: Caijing]

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