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Chery issues hybrid dare to rivals

CHERY Automobile Co has unveiled its first self-developed electric vehicle that aims to challenge rivals BYD and Toyota Motor Corp in developing alternative fuel vehicles worldwide.

Powered by an iron-litheium battery, the Chery S18 could run 120 to 150 kilometers on one charge and has a maximum speed of 120 kilometers an hour.

Chery said the battery can be fully charged in four to six hours at a household electrical outlet and can be 80 percent charged in 30 minutes by using its specially designed charging devices.

A Chery official said the model will be on sale in the market within a year for less than 100,000 yuan (US$14,619) and the first batch of vehicles will be provided to government institutions for a trial operation.

Chery, which launched a prototype hybrid last month that could save up to 10 percent on fuel consumption, plans to launch a mid-level hybrid this year.

Car makers race

Chinese car makers are racing to launch new energy vehicles and the central government hopes to have 60,000 new energy vehicles on the roads nationwide by 2012. The government is also offering subsidies, ranging from 50,000 yuan to 250,000 yuan, to consumers to purchase hybrid, electric cars and fuel-cell vehicles.

Besides Chery, nearly all domestic car makers have invested heavily into new energy vehicles.

BYD has launched the world's first mass produced hybrid electric vehicle, the F3DM in December last year, which could run longer than Toyota's Prius and is cheaper than the Japanese model.

A total of seven Chinese-made new energy vehicles have been granted production licenses, including Shanghai General Motor's hybrid LaCrosse sedan and Jie Xun hybrid developed by Chang'an Auto.


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