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November 13, 2009

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Joint effort on energy vehicles

CHINA is urging domestic car makers to work jointly to speed up the development of new energy vehicles as the nation embarks to compete with overseas rivals on green technology, a government official said yesterday.

Dong Yang, secretary general of the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, said some state-owned car makers have agreed to work together on the industrialization of hybrid and electric vehicles during an internal meeting in July this year.

"The cooperation could involve the establishment of industrial standard for electric cars as well as joint investment and production," he told reporters at an auto forum in Shanghai yesterday without providing details.

China is aggressively pushing forward a plan to speed up the development of new energy vehicles, which include financial subsidies as well as 10 billion yuan (US$1.5 billion) investment to help car makers upgrade technologies.

Several car makers, including SAIC Motor Corp, Chang'an Auto Group and BYD Auto Co Ltd, have poured a huge amount of funds into investment and offered various new models of green cars to meet demand.

China wants to have 50,000 green vehicles rolling on the street by 2011.

Industry analysts said the joint action would help cut engineering costs and risks for green cars.

Compared with green technologies from Toyota and General Motors Corp, Dong said China's new energy vehicles still lag behind overseas competitors on core technologies such as electric motors and batteries.

Nine models have won government approval to begin domestic output, including the F3 dual-mode electric car made by BYD, a battery-turned-car maker backed by billionaire Warren Buffett.

Chen Yilong, chief representative of the United States Automotive Industry Action Group, also suggested China should enhance cooperation with foreign rivals on industry standard for auto parts.

In the future, privately owned car makers may also take part, Dong said.


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