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Firms tie up on clean vehicles

DONGFENG Motor Group Corp and Detroit Electric Holding Ltd yesterday agreed to develop and sell electric vehicles in China to tap government incentives to boost alternative clean vehicles.

Wuhan-based Dongfeng will test and validate Detroit Electric's patented electric drive technology to produce and market pure electric vehicles, the Dutch firm said on its Website yesterday.

"This validation process is proof of the technical leadership and commercial readiness of our electric motor drive technology," said Albert Lam, chairman and CEO of Detroit Electric. "We look forward to working closely with Dongfeng and share our experience."

The two partners are also in talks to form a joint venture to manufacture, assemble, produce and supply the electric drive technology to Dongfeng, China's third-biggest auto maker, and other vehicle manufacturers.

But the financial details of the cooperation were not released.

Domestic auto makers have accelerated efforts to develop electric cars in a bid to be the leader in the next generation of vehicle technology after record high oil prices last year and concerns about climate change fueled a global push toward green cars.

China will allocate 10 billion yuan (US$1.5 billion) in the next five years to upgrade car-making technology and to develop fuel-efficient, clean-burning vehicles. That's more than 12 times the investment in the sector in the five years ended 2005.

It has also launched a program in 13 cities, providing public transport and government departments with a subsidy of as much as 60,000 yuan for the purchase of an electric vehicle.

BYD Co, the country's biggest rechargeable-battery maker, launched the world's first mass-produced hybrid electric vehicle at the end of last year.


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