April 2, 2009

China pushes forward on electric cars

The Chinese government has set goals that could propel the country forward as a leader in all-electric vehicle production.

China is aiming for a production capacity of 500,000 hybrid or all-electric vehicles a year by 2011, The New York Times reported Thursday.

By contrast, production in the United States is predicted to reach 267,000 similarly powered vehicles per year in that time frame, said consulting firm CSM Worldwide. South Korea and Japan combined are slated to produce 1.1 million alternative-powered vehicles a year by then, CSM said.

In part, China is banking on a technology that is new, giving it a fresh start in an industry while the U.S. auto industry is stumbling, the newspaper said.

But, China also hopes to reduce urban air pollution.

China is offering subsidies valued at $8,800 for taxi companies and municipalities that purchase alternative powered vehicles. The government has also ordered construction of electric-vehicle charging stations for Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin, the Times said.