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Nation Promotes Clean Motors
A national project on environmentally friendlier motor vehicles will invest more than 1 billion yuan (US$120 million) by the end of 2004 on further developing the cleaner technology in China, experts discussing the project said yesterday.

The promotion of vehicles with low exhaust emissions is a solution to air pollution in China, especially in big cities such as Beijing and Shanghai.

In 1999, China launched a National Clean Automobile Taskforce to promote cleaner vehicles across the country, according to Shi Dinghuan, an official with the Ministry of Science and Technology.

The latest project on the development and demonstration of crucial technologies for cleaner automobiles is designed to promote the work further. Experts and government officials, car makers and research institutions discussed the project yesterday.

Of the investment needed by the project, 43 million yuan (US$5.2 million) will come from the central government, said Wang Binggang, the chief expert on the taskforce's experts group, who presented details of the project yesterday.

Through the project, motor manufacturers and local governments in China are expected to continue to invest further in the development of cleaner vehicles.

Wang said that, by the end of 2004, between 10 and 13 pilot projects will be established for the use of cleaner automobiles driven by compressed natural gas, liquefied natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas, substitute fuels such as methanol, and electric engines.

Such demonstration projects will involve at least 900 vehicles, which will meet the European Union's Euro II emission standard or even Euro III, Wang said.

About 10 to 15 cities around the country will be selected to concentrate on the application of cleaner vehicles, he said.

In those cities, more than 50 percent of taxis and buses will use cleaner technology.

According to Wang, 37 experimental bases for cleaner automobiles and five production bases for gas-fuelled vehicles have already been established in China.

In the Chinese market, there are now 35 types of gas-fuelled cars and 56 gas-fuelled buses, he said.

There are estimated to around 150,000 cleaner automobiles in China, which account for nearly 1 percent of the total number of motor vehicles in the country.

Nearly 130,000 of the cleaner automobiles are in 12 cities which had been selected as pilot cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, and Tianjin.

Despite the fact that the automobiles' emission levels are relatively low, many of them still fail to meet the Euro I emission standard, Wang pointed out. That is because most of them are refitted vehicles, he explained.

(China Daily November 13, 2002)

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