China has announced plans to take on the US head-to-head in the race to develop low emission vehicles, with a massive $2.2 billion investment in electric cars over the next three years.
The news comes hot on the heels of President Obama’s announcement of a whopping $2.4 billion investment in electric vehicles in the United States.
The Chinese government hopes that the investment will help the country to make 500,000 all-electric and hybrid vehicles a year by 2011 – and encourage organizations like city governments and airport taxi firms to enjoy subsidies of more than $70,000 on fleets of new vehicles.
Speaking about the investment Wan Gang, director of China’s science and technology ministry said, “Even under the huge pressure of the current economic conditions, the Chinese government will still focus on emission reduction and new energy development”
Even though the news sounds impressive, industry insiders have warned against getting too carried away, pointing out that 500,000 cars per annum represents only around 5 per cent of the nearly 10 million vehicles entering China’s roads each year. Nevertheless, such a massive investment could well herald the start of a heartening shift in transport policy in a country where most the population still don’t own a car.
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