SAIC Motor Corp said it would launch a series of hybrid and electric vehicles by 2012 as Chinese car makers shift to a higher gear to commercialize new energy vehicles to meet growing market demand.
The nation's largest car maker plans to introduce a hybrid Roewe 750 sedan next year, which could improve fuel efficiency by 20 percent compared to the existing non-green model under SAIC's blueprint for new energy vehicles unveiled yesterday.
Another plug-in hybrid version of the Roewe 550 mid-class sedan that could save up to 50 percent of fuel consumption is due to hit the market in 2012, when SAIC's self-developed electric vehicles will also be marketed.
The car maker has signed an accord with Shanghai's government to provide nearly 1,000 new energy vehicles, including all-electric, fuel cell and hybrids, for the 2010 World Expo.
After pouring millions of yuan into new energy vehicles, Chinese car makers had aggressively pushed forward mass production of such cars to meet higher market demand as customers view the issue of energy efficiency and a better environment as important.
SAIC, the Chinese partner of General Motors Corp and Volkswagen AG, said its investment on the new energy vehicles would rise up to 6 billion yuan (US$877 million), with its focus on pure electric vehicles and hybrid models.
Despite some existing problems such as underdeveloped infrastructure and higher costs, the government is targeting to have 60,000 new energy vehicles on the streets by 2012, including plug-in hybrid and electric cars.
Over the past few years, SAIC has unveiled several green cars, including a hybrid Buick LaCrosse sedan and a Passat Lingyu.
Chery also said it would launch two hybrid models this year after a pure electric car rolled off the assembly line in February.
China has granted production permits to five models, including BYD's F3 dual-mode electric car, Chang'an Auto's Jie Xun hybrid and Toyota's Prius hybrid.
(Shanghai Daily May 6, 2009)