In response to growing pressure to reduce energy consumption and better protect the environment, the government is to increase efforts to develop and promote vehicles powered by clean fuels, senior officials have said.
Shang Yong, vice-minister of science and technology, said in an online interview at china.com.cn yesterday that with the Olympic Games and World Expo just around the corner, the government wanted to push vehicles powered by fuel cells, electricity and fixed power.
Wu Ping, a section chief at the ministry, said it had spent 800 million yuan (US$106 million) on research work on the three types of vehicles and had already made great progress.
A national campaign to promote the use of alternative fuels such as liquefied natural gas has seen its introduction for buses and cabs in Beijing, Shanghai and Chongqing, Wu said.
"We have had major breakthroughs in battery, electric and control-system technology," Wu said.
Although the new vehicles can cut energy consumption and emissions in half, or even be pollution free, people shun them due to price, Shang said.
"A key focus of our research is to cut costs," he said.
People were also slow to accept new technology, so the government should first adopt them for its own use, he said.
"Promotion of the clean vehicles is not just a commercial activity," he said. "They lower emissions, which can help protect the environment."
Beijing authorities have said 50 "zero pollution" buses powered by lithium-cell batteries will be used as shuttles at the Olympics, while the organizers of the 2010 Shanghai World Expo have said all buses used in the expo center will be pollution free.
"These events will be good platforms for the clean vehicles and demonstrate China's determination to promote clean technology for transport," Shang said.
Separately, Shang rejected accusations from some foreign media that China is the world's biggest producer of greenhouse gases.
"Huge amounts of greenhouse gases, even according to Western reports, were discharged by developed countries during their industrialization processes, dating back 100 years," he said.
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(China Daily August 1, 2007)