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China to boost electric car industry

China rolled out Monday a plan to boost its underdeveloped electric vehicle industry, with a goal of making the industry more competitive in the global marketplace. 
The central government's plan calls for producing 500,000 electrical and hybrid cars by 2015, with output of both types of vehicles slated to grow to 2 million units by 2020, the Chinese government website said.

With the implementation of the plan, average fuel consumption per passenger vehicle is expected to drop to 6.9 liters of gasoline per 100 km by 2015, while the fuel use per energy-saving passenger vehicle will drop below 5.9 liters for every 100 km.

By 2020, average fuel consumption will be 5 liters, while that for energy-saving cars will be below 4.5 liters, the plan said.

Industry experts, however, warned Monday that China is facing a widening global gap in development of the sector, as other auto producers are also moving to beef up their electric car industries.

"Backward" core technologies and absence of mass production have caused the country's electric car sector to lag behind that of developed economies, according to the 2012 Chinese Auto Industry Development Report.

Chinese hybrid cars cannot save fuel as efficiently as their foreign competitors, said the report, which was jointly released by the Research Department of Industrial Economics under the Development Research Center of the State Council, the Society of Automotive Engineers of China and Volkswagen China.

The report said only a few companies have participated in construction of support facilities, such as charging stations. Data cited in the report indicated that only 168 charging stations had been built in 25 trial cities as of 2011.

The report said the next 20 to 30 years will be a "critical period" that witnesses formation of a global new-energy vehicle industry, adding that major car-producing countries, such as the United States and Germany, have already made efforts to boost the electric car industry.

The central government's plan said breakthroughs related to core battery technologies and key auto components will be a major target for the industry in the coming years.

The plan said more charging facilities will be built within and between cities to meet the public's needs.

The new-energy vehicle market is believed to have big growth potential in China, as the government is looking to promote the sector's development as part of its efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

The plan said the government will give the sector greater support in forms of friendly tax policies and financial services, as well as make greater efforts to train more professionals for the industry.

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