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China's Finance Minister Lou Jiwei speaks at a signing ceremony of articles of agreement of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, June 29, 2015. REUTERS/Jason Lee More BEIJING (Reuters) - China will maintain plans to gradually phase out subsidies for green energy vehicles until they are fully eliminated in 2021 and allow the market to determine the direction of green car development, Finance Minister Lou Jiwei said on Saturday. But auto executives speaking alongside Lou at an industry conference in Beijing laid out differing visions as to which technology the market will favor: Tesla-style pure electrics or plug-in hybrid cars currently favored by Volkswagen AG and others. Green car sales more than quadrupled in 2015 with the market finally taking off after years of subsidies and preferential government policies, leading China to surpass the United States to become the world's largest market for electric cars. The government sees new energy vehicles, a catch-all for pure electric, hybrid and fuel cell cars, as a means for China's auto industry to catch up to foreign competition while also combating pollution that chokes many urban areas. Lou reiterated plans to cut subsidies by 20 percent over the next two years and 40 percent by 2019-2020, eliminating them altogether after 2021 so that the industry does not grow dependent on them. Instead, Lou said China should pursue market-based policies. He praised California's emissions policy, under which Tesla can generate environmental credits from its emissions-free vehicles and then sell the credits to other companies, for playing a critical role in the success of the Silicon Valley carmaker. This was an example to learn from, he said. China has yet to institute a similar system. "Credit trading is the most effective way to ensure government neutrality on the technology's development. The market should be able to choose the technical route," said Lou. Other automakers like Beijing Automotive Group [BEJINS.UL] and start-up electric maker NextEV also praised pure electric car maker Tesla as a model for development. Executives from Volkswagen and BMW AG said they remain focused on plug-in hybrids as a the most viable technology in the near-term as China transitions toward electric cars. "Once we leave the city we are forced to confront the problem of a nationwide high-powered charging infrastructure - if you really see it as a realistic goal, I personally have some doubts - to drive pure electric over long distances," said Jochem Heizmann, head of Volkswagen Group China. VW instead favors plug-in electric vehicles that can use electric engines for city driving and switch to gasoline engine for longer inter-city drives. Chairman Wang Chuanfu of BYD, which makes China's best-selling plug-in hybrid, said he expects buses to achieve full electrification, with commercial vehicles being completely electrified within the decade and passenger cars being fully converted by 2030.


China's Finance Minister Lou Jiwei speaks at a signing ceremony of articles of agreement of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, June 29, 2015. But auto executives speaking alongside Lou at an industry conference in Beijing laid out differing visions as to which technology the market will favor: Tesla-style pure electrics or plug-in hybrid cars currently favored by Volkswagen AG (VOWG_p.DE) and others. Green car sales more than quadrupled in 2015 with the market finally taking off after years of subsidies and preferential government policies, leading China to surpass the United States to become the world's largest market for electric cars. The government sees new energy vehicles, a catch-all for pure electric, hybrid and fuel cell cars, as a means for China's auto industry to catch up to foreign competition while also combating pollution that chokes many urban areas. Lou reiterated plans to cut subsidies by 20 percent over the next two years and 40 percent by 2019-2020, eliminating them altogether after 2021 so that the industry does not grow dependent on them. Instead, Lou said China should pursue market-based policies. He praised California's emissions policy, under which Tesla can generate environmental credits from its emissions-free vehicles and then sell the credits to other companies, for playing a critical role in the success of the Silicon Valley carmaker. This was an example to learn from, he said. China has yet to institute a similar system. "Credit trading is the most effective way to ensure government neutrality on the technology's development. The market should be able to choose the technical route," said Lou. Other automakers like Beijing Automotive Group [BEJINS.UL] and start-up electric maker NextEV also praised pure electric car maker Tesla as a model for development. Executives from Volkswagen and BMW AG said they remain focused on plug-in hybrids as a the most viable technology in the near-term as China transitions toward electric cars. "Once we leave the city we are forced to confront the problem of a nationwide high-powered charging infrastructure - if you really see it as a realistic goal, I personally have some doubts - to drive pure electric over long distances," said Jochem Heizmann, head of Volkswagen Group China. VW instead favors plug-in electric vehicles that can use electric engines for city driving and switch to gasoline engine for longer inter-city drives. Chairman Wang Chuanfu of BYD, which makes China's best-selling plug-in hybrid, said he expects buses to achieve full electrification, with commercial vehicles being completely electrified within the decade and passenger cars being fully converted by 2030.


News Article
Site: www.reuters.com

A Roewe E50 electric car is parked next to a street as a bicycle travels past, amid heavy smog, after the city issued its first ever 'red alert' for air pollution in Beijing, China, December 9, 2015. Picture taken December 9, 2015. Beijing issued a first 3-day pollution "red alert" on Monday, and set out measures to combat the hazardous smog, including limiting the use of conventional petrol-powered and hybrid cars to alternate days. But all-electric vehicles are free to drive in the capital at any time. And that's prompted a rush of inquiries from would-be buyers, dealers and automakers say. "I'm considering (an electric car) as the new policy means electric cars aren't limited from driving on heavy pollution days while other types are," said Wang Chao, 26, sizing up electric vehicles at a BYD Co Ltd (1211.HK) (002594.SZ) dealership on Wednesday. Wang, who runs a Beijing food wholesale business, said the driving restrictions were yet another reason to think electric, noting the attraction also of government subsidies that would save him around 100,000 yuan ($15,560) on a new electric model. Those subsidies and other government measures have helped pure-electric car sales soar nearly five-fold to 113,810 nationwide in the first 10 months of the year, putting China on track to overtake the United States as the largest market for electric cars this year. Automakers including Tesla Motors (TSLA.O) and Beijing Automotive Group's [BEJINS.UL] electric car subsidiary say they have seen an uptick in potential buyers asking about pure electric cars in Beijing because of the pollution - though many don't dare leave home to do so. "Recently, the smog is so serious that people aren't willing to go outside, so they call us to ask," said Li Hui, owner of several BYD dealerships, which focus on environmentally friendly cars. He said inquiries about the firm's e6 pure electric model were up by 8-9 percent. BYD, backed by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (BRKa.N), is also playing off the smog in its advertising. Posters on social media for the e6 carry a promotion offering free pollution masks for anyone visiting one of Li's dealerships. "Evil pollution invades, and you don't have a monkey king?" reads another advertisement on BYD's official microblog, showing a man in a cloud of pollution calling for help from China's fabled Monkey King hero. "Activate the green cleaning (system), make PM2.5 vanish in a puff of smoke," the ad continues, referring to particulate matter that forms the smog. It goes on to say the car's purifying system can "say goodbye to big city pollution". Yang Lei, marketing manager at Beijing Electric Vehicle Co, whose backers include BAIC Motor (1958.HK) and the city government, said staff worked with marketing agencies on Sunday, when Beijing was under an 'orange alert', on how to promote sales of its electric cars tied to the pollution. Drivers opting to leave their petrol-powered cars at home were offered free chauffeur-driven rides in the company's electric cars on Monday through Wednesday, Yang said. Automakers said it was too early to say if the increase in inquiries would translate into actual sales. Dong Yang, head of China's automakers association, said on Thursday that sales of electric vehicles cannot maintain their current strong growth, and he predicted that pace of growth will slow next year. Even if drivers switch to electric vehicles, it may not alleviate the pollution threat - assuming the cars are recharged using electricity generated by coal-burning power plants. A recent study by Carnegie Mellon University found that a shift to electric cars in China might cause more air pollution because of the nation's emissions-intensive electricity grid. Coal is responsible for around 75 percent of power generation in China, though the government has said it would cut power sector emissions by 60 percent by 2020.


News Article | February 1, 2016
Site: www.techtimes.com

Barrett-Jackson awards bidder Rick Hendrick with the first 2017 Acura NSX supercar after bidding a whopping $1.2 million at the charity-focused auction event. As the lucky bidder, Rick Hendrick is getting the supercar with its identification number as VIN #001. He is also given the privilege to customize his order of the Acura's first production model such as choosing any color he wants and certain feature options. Hendrick is the owner of Hendrick Motorsports and is also the founder of Hendrick Automotive Group. "The very first production NSX will be such a special and historic vehicle, so we wanted to make sure we treat the sale of it in an equally special way," said Jon Ikeda, VP and General Manager at the Acura Division, back in December 2015, upon announcing the auction. "It was amazing to witness such generosity of spirit and passion for the new NSX," Ideka says in a new press release, now that the auction ended. "Mr. Hendrick will have the great satisfaction of owning and driving the very first next-generation NSX, and making a difference in the lives of thousands of children." The much-anticipated 2017 NSX features a first of its kind power unit otherwise known as the Sport Hybrid Super Handling All-Wheel Drive. It also boasts advanced aerodynamics, a body structure built with multi-material and a cockpit that promotes both comfortable and performance driving. Produced exclusively at the Ohio-based Performance Manufacturing Center, the 2017 Acura NSX is the only known supercar that is designed, developed and made in the U.S. with parts being sourced both locally and globally. The auction is part of Barrett-Jackson's 45th Anniversary Auction which had a nine-day run at WestWorld of Scottsdale. All of the proceeds from the auction will be given to two charitable foundations: the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation and the Camp Southern Ground. "Auctioning vehicles for charity is always something very special that we do at Barrett-Jackson," said Steve Davis, president of Barrett-Jackson. " The Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation is the leading nonprofit funder of brain tumor research with various programs that include free educational resources, college scholarships for survivors of brain tumors, financial aid during emergencies, and holding certain events to promote its mission. Camp Southern Ground is the brainchild of Grammy Award-winning artist Zac Brown. Its special focus includes young people who are faced with neurobehavioral challenges, populations that are at risk and children who come from military families. The 2017 Acura NSX will begin to hit showrooms in the spring and is said to cost at around $156,000 for the base model. The fully loaded version will reportedly cost as much as $205,000. Customers can start ordering the vehicle on Feb. 25 at any authorized NSX retailers. The date also marks the launch of the Acura NSX web vehicle configurator, which customers can check on Acura.com.


Koei Saga, Toyota's senior managing officer in charge of vehicle powertrain technology, talks during an interview in Tokyo October 27, 2015. REUTERS/Thomas Peter More TOKYO/DETROIT (Reuters) - Asia's two autos powerhouses, Japan and China, are jostling for supremacy in how future electric cars should generate their power – from batteries or hydrogen-powered fuel-cells. In a potentially high-stakes clash reminiscent of Sony versus Panasonic in the Beta-VHS video war in the 1980s, the winner could enjoy years of domination if their technology is adopted as a global standard by other manufacturers. This time, though, there should be a place in the autos market for both electric battery and hydrogen fuel-cell cars. The key question is which will power more mainstream cars – the market dominated today by the likes of Toyota, General Motors and Volkswagen . "We're reaching a crossroads," says James Chao, Shanghai-based Asia-Pacific managing director for industry consultant IHS Automotive. "It's difficult to exaggerate the significance of the choice between batteries and hydrogen. "Billions of dollars will be invested in one or the other and may determine which companies will lead the industry through the end of this century." China, a major oil importer and blighted by air pollution, is pushing for all-electric (EV) cars, offering incentives to buyers, forcing global automakers to share their technology, and opening its market to tech firms and others to produce electric vehicles. For a decade, Beijing has pushed for the EV to become a mass-market car, hoping a low entry barrier will allow its relative late comers to close a competitive gap with global rivals who have a century's head-start in traditional combustion engines. "(China President) Xi Jinping explained it very well, saying that developing new energy vehicles is the Chinese auto industry's only road to grow from being big to being strong," Xu Heyi, chairman of Beijing Automotive Group and a high-ranking Communist Party official, told reporters recently. Japan, though, sees the future differently and is investing heavily in fuel-cell technology and infrastructure as part of a national policy to foster what it calls a 'hydrogen society', where the zero-emission fuel would power homes and vehicles. Toyota Motor especially is keen to maintain the alternative propulsion lead it established a decade and a half ago with the full hybrid electric Prius. "It's not that we're not doing anything about the EV. Technically speaking, EV is a relatively easier technology," said Koei Saga, Toyota's senior managing officer in charge of vehicle powertrain technology. "But it needs to evolve. If you're looking for the ultimate solution, the EV probably isn't it." To be sure, China and Japan are not alone. GM has joint research with Honda on hydrogen cars, while BMW is Toyota's fuel-cell partner. Daimler in Europe and Hyundai Motor in South Korea are also carrying out their own research and development on a hydrogen car. Honda Motor unveiled a 'mass market' hydrogen fuel-cell car at the Tokyo Motor Show on Wednesday that will go on sale in Japan in March, to be followed by launches in the United States and Europe, key potential markets for the technology. Honda believes the car, dubbed the Clarity Fuel Cell, has reached the affordability range where a "fairly typical mainstream consumer could stretch to buy one," Toshihiro Mibe, a Honda operating officer, told Reuters. "We want this car to be the trigger for the 'hydrogen society'." The Clarity, which will retail for 7.66 million yen ($63,970) before government subsidies, follows this year's launch of Toyota's hydrogen-powered Mirai - meaning 'future' in Japanese. Mirai buyers benefit from subsidies totaling around 3 million yen ($24,915) per vehicle. Honda's main advance on Toyota's technology is to have shrunk the fuel-cell stack - the ensemble of fuel-cell, motor and transmission – by a third from a 2008 model it leased to a few private buyers in California in a subsidized trial deal. That allows Honda to store the whole stack under the hood, and package the car as "roomy enough to comfortably sit five adults," said Kiyoshi Shimizu, chief engineer for the new car, though it still sacrifices trunk space to accommodate a bulky hydrogen fuel tank. The battery pack sits under the front seat. "With this, we now hope to make a hydrogen powertrain an option across our product line," Shimizu added. China, meanwhile, is running full tilt at electric vehicles, and has opened its automotive industry to deep-pocketed technology firms to invest. The move has bred more than half a dozen Chinese-funded EV start-ups, backed by the likes of Baidu, Alibaba, Xiaomi [XTC.UL] and Tencent, as well as LeTV, a streaming video and web-connected television provider. Some, such as LeTV-funded Atieva and Faraday Future, have set up operations in California, in part to skim off talent and expertise that Tesla and others have developed there. Both aim specifically to create plush electric cars to compete with Tesla's Model S in the next 2-3 years. While this looks ambitious, one industry official said it should be taken seriously given the start-ups' funding clout. In a carrot-and-stick policy, Beijing provides subsidies for private buyers of more than $25,000 on an all-electric battery car and more than half that on a heavily electrified, so-called plug-in hybrid. It has also toughened fuel economy rules in a bid to force automakers to introduce more electric cars, and encourages global automakers operating in China to share electric car technology with their local partners. At the center of the new wave of China's EV producers is Jia Yueting, the 42-year-old billionaire founder of LeTV, who has funded Atieva, Faraday and his own EV efforts. Jia wants to build a high-performance electric car, a potential 'Tesla killer' he has christened Le Supercar. He has also ploughed hundreds of millions of dollars into Atieva and Faraday, while LeTV has partnerships with state-owned Beijing Auto and with British sports car maker Aston Martin, which could accelerate his efforts to put high-performance electric cars on the road in 2017-18. Other Chinese-funded EV start-ups also have Tesla in their sights. NextEV is backed by three Chinese Internet entrepreneurs and Tencent, while Pateo started out as a digital marketing agency before developing smart, Internet-connected car technology. It now aims to create its own smart electric car. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's growth strategy includes calls for subsidies and tax breaks for buyers of fuel cell vehicles, relaxed curbs on hydrogen fuel stations and other steps on a roadmap to promote hydrogen energy. The ruling party wants to bring down the cost of a fuel-cell car to about $20,000 by 2025, and the government aims to create 100 hydrogen fuel stations by March in urban areas where the vehicles will initially be launched. "For the hydrogen car to take off, we need a fairly well developed infrastructure to make liquid hydrogen available everywhere. On that front, Japan is among the world's most aggressive and advanced," said Honda's Mibe. Neither technology, however, comes without sizeable challenges - from regulation and subsidies to infrastructure. Both need to significantly expand the number of refueling and recharging stations and, while EVs still need to convince long-distance drivers, hydrogen's appeal to the masses may be blunted by its cost. "There's a lot more room for the fuel-cell vehicle to improve and evolve," says Mibe.

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