Battery chargers write beginning chapter for China’s electric vehicles

Four fuel dispenser-like power chargers, with the words STATE GRID printed on them, are being shown at a major automobile exhibition Sunday, sparking the imagination about a future world of electric cars in China, the world’ s largest auto market.

These four white and green-colored chargers are being displayed by the State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC), and the NARI Technology Development Co., Ltd. (NARI), a listed branch of SGCC, at the 7th China International Automobile Fair being held July 15-22 in Changchun, capital city of northeastern Jilin Province.

"We have come to the fair to promote our products as we have plans to expand our facilities building in northeast China," said Liu Kai, NARI’ S Northeast China Region manager.

Liu Kai said NARI so far has built three power-charging stations for electric vehicles in three cities in the country, Tangshan, Yangzhou, and Hangzhou.

Experts say energy-savings and emissions reductions are the largest challenges facing the auto industry. At the same time, they predict the future of the auto industry will be based upon new electric cars, which include hybrids, electric vehicles or those running on other alternative fuels.

China’s FAW has shown two electric vehicle models, the E-Wing and E-Coo at the fair, while Toyota displayed their Prius, a hybrid.

Also, an international auto exhibition held in late April in Beijing had displayed 95 new energy autos.

In June, China announced a pilot program covering the cities of Shanghai, Changchun, Shenzhen, Hangzhou and Hefei, in which buyers of new electric cars would be subsidized by the government.

The Chinese government is now studying plans for the promotion of new energy cars. "A five-year or ten-year plan is expected to be rolled out in the third quarter of this year," Dong Yang, Secretary General of the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, said.

Local resident Liu Fuchen asked about the price of a small-sized electric car at the exhibition area of Changan Automobile.

"The price is good. It only costs 39,000 yuan. The government will subsidize 5,000 yuan," said Liu, who was visiting the fair.

He said the electric car saved money, fuel, and ran quietly. The appearance of the SGCC and NARI with their power chargers at the auto exhibition may serve as a prelude in paving the way for electric vehicles in China, which has sped past the U.S. as the world’ s largest auto market by selling more than 13 million vehicles in 2009.

SGCC also said it would build 75 power-charging stations this year for use in 27 Chinese cities.

The power giant expects to establish a total of 4,000 power-chargers by 2015 while China Southern Power Grid said it planned to build 250 stations in south Shenzhen city.

It is reported that China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation (NYSE:SNP) , better known as Sinopec, intends to carry out trials in Beijing in its move towards participating in the power-charging market.

But new energy cars, for now, only remain as a concept for Chinese consumers. Liu Fuchen said the problem was there were, so far, no mature power-charging facilities in Changchun and the car’ s battery life could only last for one year.

"A new battery could cost up to 10,000 yuan," Liu said.

Price, technology, and power charging still remains as the bottlenecks for broad promotion of new energy vehicles, said Fu Yuwu, secretary general of the Society of Automotive Engineers of China, as it is these concerns that has kept Liu from purchasing an electric auto, at least for now.

Source: Xinhua,