While President Obama’s goal of 1 million EVs and plug-in hybrids on the road by 2015 seems increasingly out of reach, China still remains bullish on electrified vehicles. The Chinese city of Shenzen has decided to lead by example and put in an order for 500 BYD e6 EVs to bolster the ranks of its police fleet. This isn’t the first EV contract BYD has won with Shenzen, but it is one of the biggest.
Warren Buffett invested in BYD, which hopes to sell green vehicles en masse in China and abroad. Unfortunately, BYD has seen profits drop almost 95% in the past year, as the hoped-for green revolution in China has yet to materialize. Yet the Shenzen-based company has won several lucrative contracts from the local government, including providing 300 e6 taxis, which another 500 possibly joining transit fleets in the next year. BYD has also been tapped to provide all-electric buses to the city.
BYD won the contract because their e6 EV can reportedly meet the needs of Chinese police thanks to a supposed range of 186 miles and a top speed of 87 mph. While EVs make a lot of sense for city-based police officers, Shenzen and other Chinese cities will need to adopt them at a much faster rate if China hopes to reach its goal of less air pollution and 5 million plug-in cars by 2020.
The Chinese government knows it needs to modernize and electrify its fleets, lest the “air-pocalypse” hovering over Beijing spreads to other cities. There is so much pollution in Beijing that people are recommended to spend as little time outside as possible, and cities like Hong Kong have even gone so far as to ban certain heavy polluting vehicles from the city limits. While electric vehicles can go a long way towards reducing air pollution, BYD needs more than even these sizable contracts to hope to stay in business. BYD reportedly made a net profit of just $730,000 last quarter.
While other Chinese cities, including Hong Kong, have adopted EVs for their police officers, Shenzen appears to be setting itself up as a leader in clean car technology. But will the rest of China’s 1.3 billion citizens fall in line as well?
Source: Autoblog Green