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Hybrid Cars the Answer for a Greener China?

6 years ago146 views

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Amidst growing air pollution concerns in China, the New Energy Auto Expo has opened in Shanghai. But most of the electric vehicles on display come at a hefty price tag. Analysts say Beijing will have to step up its support, if the industry is to grow and develop.

The key to a greener China could be behind the wheel of the hybrid car.

According to a 2010 report, smog from vehicles in China accounts for 30 percent of the country's total air pollution, causing delays or cancellations of hundreds of flights.

Carmakers say the next generation of electric and hybrid vehicles are a large part of the solution.

The new Roewe 750 is manufactured by China's biggest automaker, Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation. It's the centerpiece at this week's New Energy Auto Expo in Shanghai. The vehicle is designed to run on a battery, with a backup gasoline engine.

A new Roewe 750 sets you back nearly $37,000. But a price drop is expected if Beijing makes good on its promise to subsidize hybrids, but so far, many subsidies haven't been given.

A year ago, China promised massive support for electric vehicles - nearly $10,000 in subsidies for each purchase of a pure electric vehicle from the central and local governments. But in many places the subsidies were never given, and it is unclear why funding was held back after so much fanfare.

But many are confident that hybrids will catch on anyway.

[Jiang Ying, Car Expo Visitor]:
"I think the new energy is the development trend. Because gasoline, diesel oil, natural gas and other energy on the planet will be exhausted, the new energy replacing them is just a question of sooner or later."

Others are hesitant to invest in a hybrid for practical reasons.