From 2014 to 2018, Volkswagen AG plans to build and sell 10,000 electric cars in China, the world's biggest auto market. Meanwhile, its rivals are planning to add more fuel-efficient vehicles. At a conference in Shenzhen, China, Karl-Thomas Neumann, president of Volkswagen Group China, said that as early as 2013, VW will build an electric model at local ventures with SAIC Motor Corp. and FAW Group Corp.
And in 2018, VW will add a battery-powered model specifically designed for China. Aside from VW, other carmakers that are planning to offer electric vehicles in China include Nissan Motor Co. and Daimler AG.
The local demand for electric cars and hybrids falls behind the other markets but the Chinese government aims to attract buyers of plug-in hybrids and pure electric cars with subsidies of up to 60,000 yuan ($9,000) to help reduce pollution and oil dependency.
Neumann said that the company believes that “electric cars are the right move for China” but he acknowledges that there are many challenges.
China is investing heavily in renewable energy. Neumann said that the obstacles include reducing China’s dependence on electricity produced by coal-fired power stations and high battery costs, which make production of electric cars not feasible for now.
Last June, VW showcased a Lavida compact EV sedan, an electric Golf and Up minicar at an event in Shanghai. Powered by a lithium-ion battery pack, the Lavida can run up to 150 kilometers (about 93 miles) on a charge.
This year, VW will introduce the Touareg hybrid sport-utility vehicle locally and will begin field tests of electric vehicles in China. [via autonews - sub. required]