The Chinese auto market is on fire. General Motors’ most recent quarterly numbers show a car maker saved by industry-leading sales in an economy which is healthy and growing. The Chinese auto shows, which will wow audiences in numerous cities, promise to feature the most advanced and alluring autos the industry is capable of creating. Given that China has a reputation for high pollution, the show is a prime place for auto manufacturers to display their green initiatives.
In fact, the BYD-Daimler Denza EV debuted at the Beijing Auto show. The auto, clad in waxed turquoise paint, is a hatchback-style machine with a gritty grill which will never growl. It’s aimed towards the top of the market, with a price equivalent to $41,000. Its electric motor is 115hp but will propel the machine to 50 km/h in a mere 4.3 seconds. On a full battery, the Denza EV can take travelers 180 miles (290 km.) BYD-Daimler is only one of many auto manufacturers with green initiatives in China.
Volvo and Volkswagen are both debuting greens carriages in China as well. Volvo’s S60L Hybrid is a 200hp turbo gas-burning automobile which is assisted by a 67hp electric motor. Volkswagen’s offering is an electric vehicle, the e-up! EV, which is a four-seat city car designed for small trips with small loads. The rear of the up! is rather compact and designed more for loads of groceries or small children than full-sized adults on long trips.
Upstart U.S. electric automaker Tesla, which had troubles recently in New Jersey, is planning on making a move towards the Chinese market. There is speculation that the California-based automaker will begin manufacturing Chinese-made autos as early as 2017. CEO Elon Musk has claimed that there are plans to begin Chinese production in the next three to four years. Already the electric-vehicle pioneer is exporting units to the booming Asian market and has a presence in this year’s auto shows.
Tesla’s first shipment to China was in August 2013 when it delivered eight units despite a network of charging stations. Musk was quoted as saying that Tesla would be instrmental in constructing a network of charging stations to service Chinese customers with needed electrical fuel for its autos.
Not to be outdone by foreign automakers, domestic Chinese car makers are moving forward into the green-auto market with a fleet of electric and hybrid machines of its own. JAC is the only Chinese automaker with two electric-drive autos in its fleet, but other manufacturers are in the running with hybrids. BYD is unveiling a hybrid SUV in the auto shows. Beijing Auto has only one fully electric auto to offer for 2014. The Senova D-Series EV features a 55hp electric-drive motor which tops out at 130km/h.
The market for green automobiles in China promises to grow alongside that of its internal-combustion grandparents and auto manufacturers worldwide are taking notice. Volkswagen, in addition to debuting its e-up! EV, plans to announce its intention to manufacture plug-in hybrid cars in China. The facilities are said to produce two VW brands and three more under its Audi or Porsche mastheads.