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More Hybrids to Enter Chinese Market at Year’s End

Xinhua. Hybrids from a number of different Chinese automakers—including the Dongfeng Motor Corporation (DFM), Chang’an Motor Corp, Chery Auto Company and the China FAW Group Corporation—will enter the Chinese market at the end of 2006, according to Wan Gang, head of a national team of experts on the hybrid automobile program

Scaled production of the vehicles has been listed as a key task in China’s 11th Five-Year Program from 2006 to 2010, according to Wan. The development of hybrid vehicles became a key element in China’s “863 program”—a national high-tech plan initiated in March 1986—as part of the Tenth Five-Year Plan in the year 2001.

Sichuan FAW Toyota Motor Co, a joint-venture between Toyota and the China FAW Group Corporation (FAW), began assembling the Prius hybrid in China in December 2005. (Earlier post.)

FAW has also introduced a hybrid version of its Hongqi (red banner) sedan, apparently with licensed Toyota mild hybrid technology (similar to the Toyota Crown in Japan). (Earlier post.)

The Ministry of Science and Technology approved DFM’s hybrid prototypes in December 2005. The automaker has produced 8 trial models of the hybrid sedan, based on the Nissan Bluebird sedan (Nissan and Dongfeng signed a joint venture agreement in 2000).

The car, with a top speed of 160 km/h (99 mph), consumes some 19% less fuel than its conventional counterpart and is based on technology developed at DFM. DFM also has established a partnership with Li Sun Power, a unit of Shenzhen-based Industries International, for lithium-ion batteries to power its hybrids and full EVs. (Earlier post.)

DFM and FAW are also manufacturing hybrid transit buses.

According to Wan, an increasing number of Chinese automobile manufacturers have selected hybrid vehicles as targets for future development.

Maple, which is the Shanghai-based unit of privately owned domestic auto manufacturer Geely, has shown a hybrid prototype of the 1.8-liter Hysoul 305. Xu Gang, Maple’s chairman, says the company plans to begin commercial hybrid car production in 2008, with initial output expected to reach between 5,000 and 10,000 units a year.

SAIC, China’s second biggest automaker, says it plans to start to produce a small volume of hybrid cars in 2008 with partners GM and Volkswagen in separate deals. Its annual production capacity should reach 50,000 units by 2010.

SAIC is targeting 500 Touran hybrid vans in time for the Beijing Olympics in 2008. (Earlier post.)


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