Car­mak­ers go­ing green to woo China

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By WANG YING and WU YIYAO in Shang­hai Con­tact the writ­ers at wang_y­ing@ chi­ and wuyiyao@ chi­

Af­ter say­ing no to scant­i­ly­clad mod­els, this year’s auto show in Shang­hai dis­played a di­verse range of light­weight, fuel-ef­fi­cient elec­tric ve­hi­cles with lower emis­sions.

The 2015 Shang­hai In­ter­na­tional Au­to­mo­bile In­dus­try Ex­hi­bi­tion took in­no­va­tion as its theme. Many car­mak­ers showed off their use of new tech­nolo­gies that are more en­ergy ef­fi­cient and less re­liant on fos­sil fu­els.

BMW’s X5 xDrive40e is a new plug-in hy­brid ve­hi­cle and the first main­stream BMW to use a plug-in sys­tem. It is pow­ered by a tur­bocharged four­cylin­der en­gine and elec­tric mo­tor but can also drive on elec­tric power alone.

Toy­ota’s Mi­rai, or “fu­ture” in Ja­panese, uses an elec­tric mo­tor but has no bat­ter­ies and re­lies in­stead on burned hy­dro­gen.

BYD, a pi­o­neer in China’s elec­tric car in­dus­try, re­leased its BYD Song, a mid-size SUV.

All new mod­els seemed to fol­low the same script: cut­ting green­house gas emis­sions by lift­ing power ef­fi­ciency and lean­ing more on elec­tric power.

China pledged last year to achieve peak car­bon-diox­ide emis­sions around 2030, the first time the gov­ern­ment has set such a time­frame. This com­mit­ment is ex­pected to im­pact many re­lated in­dus­tries.

The coun­try has been driv­ing the ex­pan­sion of elec­tricpow­ered mo­bil­ity with ex­ten­sive sup­port pro­grams for sev­eral years. Re­lated sub­si­dies is­sued to pro­mote the use of such clean-en­ergy ve­hi­cles now to­tal around 52 bil­lion yuan ($8.38 bil­lion).

China has also widened its net­work of charg­ing sta­tions and es­tab­lished a co­op­er­a­tion net­work for public sec­tor com­pa­nies en­gaged in e-mo­bil­ity so­lu­tions, ac­cord­ing to a re­cent re­port by Roland Berger.

The coun­try’s cu­mu­la­tive sales of 53,000 new elec­tric cars make it the world’s sec­ond­largest mar­ket, yet the share of elec­tric and hy­brid ve­hi­cles sold ac­counts for just 0.2 per­cent of all car sales in China. This puts it sig­nif­i­cantly be­hind the lead­ing au­to­mo­tive na­tions, Roland Berger re­ported.

Other so­lu­tions have also been ap­plied to re­duce car­bon emis­sions and make driv­ing more en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly in China as many Amer­i­can com­pa­nies have been lever­ag­ing the po­ten­tial growth in this field in China.

At­lanta-based Novelis, one of the world’s lead­ing alu­minum sup­pli­ers for au­to­mo­bile mak­ers, has been co­op­er­at­ing with sev­eral Chi­nese car brands to de­velop tai­lor-made alu­minum to make cars lighter and more fuel-ef­fi­cient.

A car’s weight can be re­duced by up to 40 per­cent through the use of such ma­te­ri­als, which can trans­late as fuel sav­ings of over 20 per­cent and slash car­bon emis­sions by onequar­ter, ac­cord­ing to Novelis.

Cleve­land-based Eaton, a power-man­age­ment com­pany, is all set to in­tro­duce its On­Board Re­fu­el­ing Va­por Re­cov­ery sys­tem to the Chi­nese mar­ket. The ve­hi­cle emis­sion con­trol sys­tem col­lects fuel va­por that evap­o­rates dur­ing a ve­hi­cle’s re­fu­el­ing process in or­der to burn it dur­ing its nor­mal op­er­a­tion.

This tech­nol­ogy re­duces hy­dro­car­bon emis­sions by 95 per­cent dur­ing re­fu­el­ing. Re­fu­el­ing ac­counts for about half of a ve­hi­cle’s to­tal hy­dro­car­bon emis­sions each year. The sys­tem has been used in the United States for nearly 20 years.

Wis­con­sin-head­quar­tered John­son Con­trols also an­nounced some new tech­nol­ogy at this year’s auto show in the form of its ad­vanced start­stop ve­hi­cle bat­ter­ies.

Start-stop has emerged as one of the pre­ferred tech­nolo­gies for meet­ing China’s and other ma­jor coun­tries’ tar­gets for re­duced emis­sions by en­abling fuel-econ­omy sav­ings of 5 per­cent over a con­ven­tional ve­hi­cle.

“It re­quires min­i­mal changes to the ve­hi­cles and costs sig­nif­i­cantly less than hy­brid or elec­tric ve­hi­cles,” said Lisa Ba­hash, group vice-pres­i­dent of global orig­i­nal equip­ment for John­son Con­trols Power So­lu­tions.

The tech­nol­ogy au­to­mat­i­cally shuts off the en­gine when the car is idle and restarts it when the driver’s foot leaves the brake pedal. Dur­ing this time, the ve­hi­cle’s elec­tri­cal sys­tems — from en­ter­tain­ment to lights — use en­ergy from an ad­vanced lead-acid bat­tery rather than the gas-pow­ered en­gine.

Less than 5 per­cent of new ve­hi­cles in China have start­stop tech­nol­ogy in­stalled at the mo­ment but John­son Con­trols pre­dicts this will rise to 40 per­cent within five years.

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