Gear­ing up for a move from the farm­yard?

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - COVER STORY - By JIANG XUE­QING

In 2012, Pang Yicheng, CEO of the in­dus­try in­for­ma­tion provider Bei­jing EV Fu­ture In­for­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy Co, vis­ited Shifeng Group, a man­u­fac­turer of agri­cul­tural trucks, trac­tors and diesel en­gines, based in Gaotang county, Shan­dong prov­ince.

Pang was amazed by the size of the assem­bly lines for low-speed elec­tric ve­hi­cles, which have a range of 100 km at an aver­age speed of 50 to 60 km per hour. The com­pany has an an­nual pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity of 200,000 of th­ese ve­hi­cles.

“A top Shifeng ex­ec­u­tive told me, ‘If large State-owned com­pa­nies like SAIC Mo­tor don’t de­velop lowspeed elec­tric ve­hi­cles, they can still de­liver a good per­for­mance. But if we don’t, our com­pany will die for sure,’” re­called Pang.

How­ever, China’s de­vel­op­ment plan for fuel- ef­fi­cient and new en­ergy ve­hi­cles and the spec­i­fi­ca­tions for elec­tric pas­sen­ger cars means the cen­tral govern­ment does not count low-speed elec­tric au­tos as new en­ergy ve­hi­cles.

Shifeng re­ceived strong sup­port from the lo­cal govern­ment. In Shan­dong, the com­pany’s lowspeed elec­tric ve­hi­cles are al­lowed on roads that have speed lim­its of 60 to 80 km an hour. Pur­chasers can also ap­ply for a tem­po­rary li­cense plate that al­lows them to drive within the prov­ince.

With a mar­ket price of about 30,000 yuan ($4,895), the ve­hi­cles have be­come in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar among farm­ers. The elec­tric­ity bill — less than 20 yuan a month — is also at­trac­tive to those who want to keep run­ning costs low.

“If we hope to see elec­tric ve­hi­cles spread­ing quickly across China, we should take low-speed elec­tric cars into con­sid­er­a­tion,” said Zhang Junyi, prin­ci­pal at Roland Berger Strat­egy Con­sul­tants.

“If this is­sue is han­dled well by the govern­ment, it will ac­cel­er­ate China’s ur­ban­iza­tion process and re­in­force the trend to­ward elec­tric trans­port. But we could see prob­lems and even se­ri­ous traf­fic ac­ci­dents if low-speed elec­tric ve­hi­cles are left in a gray area that lacks tech­ni­cal stan­dards and govern­ment ad­min­is­tra­tion.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.