Maple, the Shanghai-based unit of China’s Geely Automobile, is working with Tongji University in Shanghai to develop hybrid cars.
The partnership has set out an aggressive development plan that, if realized, would see the hybrids in commercial production in 2008, in time for the Olympics.
We plan to produce 5,000 to 10,000 hybrid-powered cars under the Maple brand a year initially. In the long term, we expect hybrid-powered cars will account for half of our total annual sales.—Xu Gang, chairman of Maple
Maple intends to show a demonstration hybrid, based on its 1.5-liter Marindo, at the Shanghai Industry Exhibition to be held in November of this year.
Other Milestones include:
A fully functioning prototype by June 2006, to be shown at the Beijing International Auto Exhibition
Limited, trial production vehicles on display at the 2007 Shanghai International Auto Exhibition
Full commercial productions, and cars in showrooms in Beijing by the Olympics in 2008.
Maple says that intends to use Chinese engines and hybrid components in cars.
We will use self-developed engines and source transmission and other components in China to produce hybrid-powered cars. So we will be competitive in price.—Xu Gang (China Daily)
China will be a strong market for hybrid—and full electric—cars.
Toyota will begin producing the Prius with China’s First Automotive Works Corp this year in Changchun. GM and Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp (SAIC) also announced last year that they are jointly developing hybrid and fuel cell vehicles in China.