According to the Beijing Youth Daily, two to four-seat electric mini passenger vehicles will enter the Chinese market by 2015.
Zhen Zijian, deputy director of 863 major projects for energy-saving and new energy vehicles in the Ministry of Science and Technology, said the projected number of electric cars sold will reach to 2.66 million units, which leads to some 21.2 billion kWh of electricity needed throughout the year.
The electric mini car can be driven at the highest speed of 80 kilometers per hour and run 100 kilometers without charging.
He added that electric city buses and plug-in electric buses will also be produced by 2015. At that time, the output of electric vehicles will make up 10 percent of the total number of electric passenger vehicles.
China National Offshore Oil Corp. is considering building battery-changing stations for electric vehicles, part of a broader push by the state-owned oil giant that could give a boost to electric cars in China’s huge market.
Shan Lianwen, director of corporate strategy at China National Offshore, one of three big Chinese-government oil companies, said it is looking into the possibility of building a nationwide network of battery-changing stations, where drivers of electric vehicles could swap out an empty car battery for a full one.
China National Offshore in July invested 5 billion yuan ($732 million) in Tianjin Lishen Battery Joint-Stock Co., a Chinese company that makes lithium batteries for electric vehicles. Lishen said it would use the investment to build 20 battery assembly lines at a new facility in the port city of Tianjin.
Chinese leaders have adopted a plan aimed at turning the country into one of the leading producers of hybrid and all-electric vehicles within three years, and making it the world leader in electric cars and buses.
China’s intention, in addition to creating a world-leading industry that will produce jobs and exports, is to reduce urban pollution and decrease its dependence on oil. China wants to raise its annual production capacity to 500,000 hybrid or all-electric cars and buses by the end of 2011, from 2,100 last year.
Electric cars have several practical advantages in China. Intercity driving is rare. Commutes are fairly short and frequently at low speeds because of traffic jams. So the limitations of all-electric cars are less of a problem.
BYD has 5,000 auto engineers and an equal number of battery engineers, most of them living at its headquarters in Shenzhen in a cluster of 15 yellow apartment buildings, each 18 stories high.
China’s government is backing the industry’s push toward electric cars. Large fleet owners, in China, that’s mainly regional governments and taxi companies, now get subsidies worth up to $8,800 per vehicle if they buy electric. Beijing has also announced that it will spend $1.5 billion in grants to help its auto industry innovate.