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September 22, 2010

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Home » Metro » Environment

Island on road to new energy

CHONGMING Island is pioneering the city's development of new-energy cars with most motor vehicles on the island being replaced by green vehicles by 2020.

Visiting drivers will be asked to transfer to green vehicles when they arrive on the island, which is expected to have 100,000 green vehicles for public transport, leasing and private use by 2020.

The island has 75,000 vehicles mainly using gasoline at present.

"Chongming Island is the top choice for the development of zero-emission electric vehicles," Zheng Fangneng, an official with the Ministry of Science and Technology, said at an International Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Technology and Vehicle Development Forum at Tongji University yesterday.

Nearly 1,000 green vehicles, 500 hybrid electric vehicles, 300 battery electric vehicles and 200 fuel cell vehicles are in use at the World Expo, Zheng said, and that experience will lay a good foundation for the next stage of development.

However, there is unlikely to be a swift expansion of green vehicles in the city's urban areas, experts told the forum.

"Currently, a hydrogen fuel station for fuel cell vehicles needs to cover a large area of land for safety reasons," said Ma Jianxin, deputy director of the Clean Energy Automotive Engineering Center at the university.

"It's hard to find large open spaces in the crowded downtown city now," he said.

Ma said that less space will be required as the technology matured. That will be a suitable time for expansion in the downtown area.

Ma also said that the natural resources on the island, such as marsh gas, are expected to be a source of hydrogen fuel, another reason it was chosen for the project.

On the island, 80 percent of the vehicles drive less than 100 kilometers a day, said Wang Zhe, a researcher at the National Fuel Cell Vehicle Power System Engineering Technology Research Center and the main designer of the Chongming project.

City dwellers, in comparison, might complain that electric vehicles could not meet their needs for long journeys across the city, because of insufficient recharging stations.

The city plans to promote green vehicles on the island in three steps. First, green vehicles will be used for public transport. Then group sales to units and rental businesses will be launched. Finally, green cars will be available to private buyers with government subsidies.


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