|The hybrid A5 ISG.|
China’s Chery Automobile has introduced a production-ready hybrid version of its popular A5 sedan at the 2006 Ninth Beijing International Auto Exhibition. The new A5 ISG is a parallel hybrid with an all-electric capability at start-up or speeds below 40 kph (25 mph).
The hybrid combines a Chery ACTECO 1.3-liter engine with a permanent magnet synchronous motor and a five-speed automatic transmission to deliver the performance of the conventional 1.6-liter A5 model (A516), but with improved fuel economy and reduced emissions.
The conventional, Euro-3 compliant A516 delivers 80 kW (107 hp) of power and 144 Nm (106 lb-ft) of torque with estimated fuel consumption of 6.6 l/100km (36 mpg US). Chery’s new 1.3-liter engine with variable valve timing is Euro-4 compliant and delivers 65 kW (87 hp) of power and 118 Nm (87 lb-ft) of torque.
In the press release announcing the vehicle, Chery noted that hybrids are very suitable for the Chinese market, given the energy shortage, pressure for improving the environmental conditions, and cities with frequent traffic jams.
However, Toyota’s sales of its locally-manufactured Prius in China are running at less than half of its original target, according to a report by the Detroit News. Toyota began assembling the Prius in China in December 2005.
The Prius’s poor showing, an anomaly in Toyota’s otherwise dynamic performance in China, suggests that energy conservation is not a priority among China’s newly rich consumers.—Detroit News
A number of new hybrid models will be entering the China market by the end of this year or early next year, including offerings from the Dongfeng Motor Corporation (DFM), Chang’an Motor Corp, the China FAW Group Corporation and Geely.
Scaled production of hybrids is a key task in China’s 11th Five-Year Program from 2006 to 2010. 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. (Earlier post.)