China pressures foreign carmakers to share EV technology

Article by Christian Andrei, on October 2, 2011

As the demand for electric vehicles in China is virtually zero, you may wonder why so many global automakers have announced plans for their Chinese joint ventures to produce them. This list includes General Motors, Daimler AG, Suzuki Motor Corp., Volkwagen AG and Nissan Motor Co. So that they could expand operations in China, they have to meet two of Beijing’s requirements. First, they have to share their EV technology with their Chinese partners (which are state-owned companies). They also have to assist these partners in creating new local car brands.

VW had to comply with these before it could get Beijing's approval to build new assembly plants in China, says Autonews. The automakers didn’t like the idea at first but this year, they decided that they could build the EVs in China, and these EVs will be launched under new brands formed for their China joint ventures. There aren’t many details on how this will be done but there are hints.

One was unveiled at the Beijing auto show last year. Volkswagen showed off the E-Lavida, an electric version of the Golf-based sedan that VW builds in China. This month, VW said that its new Tantus brand, to be shared with its joint-venture partner SAIC Motor Corp., will be marketing an EV. GM has also announced that it will jointly build an EV with SAIC.

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