The market for electric vehicles is picking up steam, with many developments emerging recently.
Rolls Royce, BMW’s ultra luxury brand vehicle, announced a forthcoming line of either electric or hybrid vehicles. Rolls CEO Torsten Mueller-Oetvoes acknowledged while there is not a huge market demand for either product, he still felt the need to move ahead on developing an alternative vehicle. It cannot be said as to whether or not the decision to push ahead on this is related to environmental concerns. Either way, we should applaud this move by Rolls.
Tuesday, General Motors (GM) announced a partnership with a Chinese automaker to launch an electric vehicle. According to the New York Times, “the new electric car development effort will be through a 50-50 joint venture that GM already has with China’s biggest auto company, the Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation.” GM is the largest foreign producer of conventional vehicles in China. They also produce the Chevrolet Volt, a plug-in partial electric vehicle that emerged into U.S. markets last year. This year will be the first year that China will import the vehicle.
Following suit behind GM are Nissan and Toyota. Nissan already lays claim to the one and only plug-in all-electric vehicle in the U.S. market, the Nissan Leaf. Yet, Nissan will not be building the Leaf nor importing the Leaf to China. Instead, Nissan is developing an electric car with its Chinese partner, Dongfeng Motor. Toyota has announced that it will begin building and selling its current Prius generation in China; however, it will not do the same with the new plug-in Prius.
It is worth noting that, like solar energy, the Chinese government recognizes the benefit of plug-in electric vehicles and is making a big push for them to succeed. In the case of PEVs, they are providing a number of handsome incentives to manufacturers—incentives which amount to a subsidy of $19,300 per car. The catch: it is only applicable if the car is made in China. They are also aggressively trying to persuade foreign automakers to give them the PEV technology they currently lack.
Boogie, woogie, woogie, woo?