Blueprint for new-energy auto industry approved

Xinhua, April 19, 2012

Recharge facilities for new-energy cars. [File photo]

The State Council, or China's cabinet, said on Wednesday that the country will move more quickly to develop its energy-saving and new-energy vehicle industry to ease pressure on resources and the environment.

Purely electric vehicles will be prioritized in the transformation of China's auto industry, with the current focus falling on the industrialization of electric and hybrid vehicles, according a statement released after a State Council executive meeting presided over by Premier Wen Jiabao.

The meeting approved a development guideline for the energy-saving and new-energy car industry.

It is hoped that China's accumulative output of electric and hybrid vehicles will reach 500,000 units by 2015 and 5 million by 2020, the statement said.

China overtook the United States to become the world's largest auto market in 2009 after selling 13.64 million vehicles that year. Both car sales and production volume witnessed astonishing growth in 2009 and 2010 before slowing to a 2.4-percent growth rate in 2011 with the conclusion of related stimulus policies.

The country still remains the world's largest auto market, although in the first quarter of this year, sales fell slightly year-on-year due to a high comparison basis and surging oil prices, according to data released by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM).

Facing restraints from oil consumption, the government is vigorously pushing the development of new-energy vehicles. Since the start of this year, it has halved vehicle taxes for drivers of energy-saving cars and ships and eliminated vehicle taxes for drivers of new-energy cars and vessels.

According to Wednesday's meeting, the country will try to lower the average fuel consumption of automobiles produced in 2015 to 0.069 liters per km, while those produced in 2020 will see average consumption drop to 0.05 liters per km, according to the statement.

The statement underlined the necessity of requiring domestic manufacturers to become capable of independently producing state-of-the-art components for new-energy cars.

Efforts should be made to make breakthroughs in developing key technology to significantly enhance fuel efficiency and battery safety, the statement said.

The government will expand a pilot program for subsidizing private owners of new-energy cars, the statement said.

Since last October, energy-saving cars weighing between 1,205 to 1,320 kg should consume no more than 6.3 liters of fuel per 100 km to allow their owners to be eligible to receive a subsidy of 3,000 yuan per vehicle.

The government plans to build more battery-charging stations and create more facilities for recycling batteries, the statement said.