By on April 9, 2011

It’s long form Saturday! Most of you probably thought you would never see the day Bertel writes a fiery manifesto for the Electric Car. Today is your day.

Yesterday, we were first to run with the story that Beijing most likely will become EV capital of the world. Not because Beijing scientists have developed the miracle battery. Not because Chinese EVs suddenly go 400 miles on a single charge. Physics did not change. Beijing changes. Months ago, new car buyers in Beijing stopped dreaming about buying a new car.That dream was shattered. Now suddenly, an EV has become the only car a new car buyer can buy and drive tomorrow. Or on Monday. If one would be on sale. Here is what happened:

In Beijing, the car market has completely collapsed.

That does not grab you? Then  what if the car market had come to a complete halt in Australia? Beijing has about the population of Australia and had car sales approaching those of Australia. Why did the Beijing market collapse? Because the city doesn’t want more cars on its roads. New car registrations are strictly rationed. More here.

On Thursday, we picked up rumors, and on Friday, we received confirmation that Beijingers will be able to buy a car again. If it is an EV. The media didn’t believe it or ignored it.

Foreign reporters hop off their bar-stool at Maggie’s and go into a tizzy when someone drops a white flower in front of a Beijing McDonald’s. Reporters end up taking pictures of each other, because nobody else is there. Now, they are asleep at the wheel when the EV the media supposedly adores so much does become law. (And if you ask me: People from Glen Beck to John Stewart are missing great material.)

On Friday, the news was in the Chinese press only, and not served on an ready-to eat, fork & knife English platter. Today, the English speaking papers have it. From CCTV to People’s Daily to Global Times, they all run the story that EVs in Beijing will not only be “enjoying the same level of preferential subsidies with Shenzhen”, but will also “have the sole privilege of license-plate-lottery-free, no traffic restrictions and tax-free exemptions (paid by the government).”

You need to live amongst the people of Beijing to understand how big that last one is.

Before we do that, let’s go back to Shenzhen and the subsidies. They are huge: 60,000 yuan from the city and 60,000 yuan from the central government to the buyer of a pure plug-in. That’s a total of 120,000 yuan, or $18,362.64 in today’s dollars. That would be a big amount of money stateside, and the purchase power proponents will agree, it is is even bigger in China.

In Shenzhen, however, the money remained in the government coffers. Nobody wanted it.

Why would a customer not buy the BYD E6 over the BYD F3 with such a munificent donation? First, because there is no BYD E6 commercially available. Second, because the conventional F3 costs $9,000 or so, maybe less with generous BYD-in-distress discounts. Whereas the E6, even assuming a low $30,000 MSRP, would still cost $11,638 after subsidies. They are Chinese, it makes a difference. With the F3, they can drive to Guangzhou and back, whereas with the E6 – do we really believe the 249 mile range? Anyway, moot matter, no E6 available.

In Beijing, the first time buyer does not have that choice. Whether F3 or A7, with a mei you (no have) license plate, any ICE powered car is for all intents and purposes out of reach. With an EV, the car can be driven on Monday. It can be driven on any day of the week (conventional cars must stay off the streets for one day, as per Beijing regs). No tax on top, to sweeten the deal until it drips and you need a napkin.

For a Beijinger, it can’t get any better. Even if Ed McMahon himself would knock on my door and hand me the keys to the BMW 7series I just won in the Chinese Family Publishers sweepstakes, I could not drive it – no tags. McMahon can’t hand me the tags, not transferable. No, you can’t even give a regular car away in Beijing.

Suddenly, $11,638 or even $20,000 or more for an EV are mere afterthoughts. Remember: In Shanghai, people pay more than $7,000 for the license plate.

The only problem: Which EV? I would not know which EV I could buy on Monday, as Ash Sutcliffe rightly comments over at Chinacartimes. We shall see miles of cable in a week at the Shanghai Auto Show, snaking into parking lots of electric cars, but none for sale. Mock-ups we have seen for years. What are they waiting for? A market.

This being Beijing, the press is full of mentions of Beijing’s carmakers Foton and of Beijing Auto. Both are owned by BAIC, which is controlled by the City of Beijing. Get the picture? No wonder the plan was waved-through so fast. Foton has an electric taxi out, the Foton Midi. I can’t buy it. It’s used as a trial in Yangqing, which still is in Beijing proper, but way out there. I’m told, if I would tell the driver to take me downtown, or to the airport, he’d say “bu yao” – no good. Too far from the charging station in Yangqing. Those taxis don’t stray farther from that charging station than little chickies from their mother hen.

Beijing Auto has electrified versions of the former Saab in development. BAIC has a number of other vehicles in development. The operative word is “development.” So nothing from there – yet.

Who else?

Well there would be Nissan with a Leaf, or Mitsubishi with an i-Miev. Both market ready.

The Leaf would be just what the doctor ordered for Beijing. Nissan has plans for a few hundred in Wuhan this year, says Reuters. Wuhan is the city Nissan’s joint venture partner Dongfeng calls home. According to the Reuters report, Nissan wants to “make the Leaf in China as soon as possible, but the key issue to the decision is the sales volume.” That according to Tsunehiko Nakagawa, vice president of Nissan China Investment.

Dozo, Beijing is wide open. Let’s bring the Japanese price of $44K down a bit (this is China), say to $40K, deduct 18,362.64, and you have $21,638 – not bad if it’s the only choice you have. Around 140,000 yuan, a nice price point. Tough sell anywhere else, Nakagawa is right when he worries about sales volumes. He won’t find it in Wuhan. But in Beijing? The Leaf could become more ubiquitous than the Made-in-Beijing Hyundai Elantra taxi.

Mitsu’s i-MiEV would be ready also, but we have no China plans on the RADAR.

Shipping them from Japan may not be such a good idea at the moment, it would eat up 25 percent in customs duty anyway, spoiling all the fun.

Being first in this cornered market is absolutely essential. Let’s not forget: If you sell EVs here, you will be selling to first time buyers. They have never driven a car they owned. They will grow up with an EV and will know nothing else than a car must be electric. A car filled with gasoline will be as alien to them as chopsticks to most of us. Here is the chance to sell to first-time affluent, worldly buyers, in the world’s second or third largest city (they are fighting it out with Shanghai), in the capital of the world’s largest auto market, with the world watching in awe. I bet Dongfeng would not mind at all.

If neither Nissan nor Mitsu will occupy every street-level wall socket in Beijing (all conveniently 220V, and rock-solid supply), someone else will:

A few days ago, Volkswagen had sent out a blurb about “becoming the friend of the National Museum in China.” I probably wasn’t the only one who immediately (electronically) spiked it.

Who cares whether VW donates a few cars to take people museum hopping in Beijing? Who cares whether “as part of this sponsorship, Volkswagen will launch its first electric vehicle fleet in Beijing?” We’ve heard that greenwashing before. Who cares whether “China plays an important role for Volkswagen´s goal to become the leader in the global electric vehicle market by 2018?” Hyperbola in green. Recycle bin.

In front of the new regulatory backdrop, (or “unter den geänderten Rahmenbedingungen” as they so much fancy to say in the Fatherland), the electric museum shuttles become a stroke of genius. Whoever had the sheer luck or inside information (being familiar with VW, my money is on sheer luck) just started the best timed promotion there is. Most likely he or she will get promoted. They run a fleet of Golf Blue-e-motion (to be launched in Germany in 2013, in the U.S. in 2014) and Touareg Hybrids (available). They are the only electric cars on Beijing’s streets, while everybody is absolutely dying to have one. They can keep the Touareg Hybrid, and should launch the Golf Blue-e-motion immediately in Beijing. It would sell like hotcakes while the rest of China scrambles to make their prototypes ready for market.

Volkswagen doesn’t honestly believe that the Golf Blue-e-motion will be a volume model anywhere else anyway. What did Volkswagen’s sales chief Christian Klingler say? “The electric car is not a request from the customer, the electric car is a request from the government.” Now he could say: “The electric car is a request from the customer, the electric car is a request from the government. We have a win-win!” They love win-wins in Wolfsburg.

Volkswagen’s joint venture partner FAW, maker of the Golf, would be delighted to produce the electrified version. Mei wen ti! (No problem.)

Volkswagen’s southern JV partner SAIC has more electric know-how, but FAW wouldn’t mind picking some up. And while they are at it, they could also update the English version of their website. It’s from 2009 and in the old CI that never went anywhere. Bu kequi.

No Volt. So sorry. Pure plug-in only. Them’s the rules. Try the lottery.

Do I sound excited? Yes, I am. As most around here know, I do not believe that the EV will be taking over the world anytime soon. I am a pragmatist. Most buyers are pragmatists when they get into the showroom. I have sat in too many focus groups, listened to how they lied about protecting the environment at all cost. In the store, they take the car that makes the most sense for their money. I never really cared what propels a car, as long as it’s fast and peppy. Drive-trains are not a religion.  I believe in cars that make sense.

In Beijing, the only car that makes sense for a first time buyer that did not win the lottery is an EV. It’s a market, ripe for the plugging.

<a href=”http://images.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/04/evplug2.jpg”><img class=”aligncenter size-full wp-image-390721″ title=”A market, ripe for the plugging. Picture courtesy of renewableenergyworld.com” src=”http://images.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/04/evplug2.jpg” alt=”” width=”450″ height=”310″ /></a> 

<em>It’s long form Saturday! Most of you probably thought you would never see the day Bertel writes a fiery manifesto for the Electric Car. Today is your day.</em>

Yesterday, <a href=”../../../../../2011/04/new-edict-turns-beijing-into-ev-city/”>we were first to run with the story that Beijing most likely will become EV capital of the world.</a> Not because Beijing scientists have developed the miracle battery. Not because Chinese EVs suddenly go 400 miles on a single charge. Physics did not change. Beijing changes. Months ago, new car buyers in Beijing stopped reaming about buying a new car.That dream was shattered. Now suddenly, an EV has become the only car a new car buyer can buy and drive tomorrow. Or on Monday. If one would be on sale. Here is what happened:

In Beijing, the car market has completely collapsed. That doesn’t move you? What if the car market had come to a complete stop in Australia? Beijing has about the population of Australia and had car sales approaching those of Australia. Why did the Beijing market collapse? Because the city doesn’t want more cars on its roads. <a href=”../../../../../2011/04/ttac-dossier-chinese-roulette-or-the-tao-of-beijing-car-ownership/”>New car registrations are strictly rationed. More here.</a>

On Thursday, we picked up rumors, and on Friday, we received confirmation that Beijingers will be able to buy a car again. If it is an EV. The media didn’t believe it or ignored it.

Foreign reporters hop off their barstool at Maggie’s and go into a tizzy when someone drops a white flower in front of a Beijing McDonald’s. Reporters end up taking pictures of each other, because nobody else is there. Now, they are asleep at the wheel when it becomes law that the only vehicle a first time buyer stands a chance to drive is the EV the media supposedly adores so much.

On Friday, the news was in the Chinese press only, and not served on an ready-to eat English platter. Today, the English speaking papers have it. From <a href=”http://english.cntv.cn/20110408/107888.shtml”>CCTV</a> to <a href=”http://english.people.com.cn/90001/98649/7344880.html”>People’s Daily </a>to <a href=”http://beijing.globaltimes.cn/society/2011-04/642539.html”>Global Times</a>, they all run the story that EVs in Beijing will not only be “enjoying the same level of preferential subsidies with Shenzhen”, but will also “have the sole privilege of license-plate-lottery-free, no traffic restrictions and tax-free exemptions (paid by the government).”

You need to live amongst the people of Beijing to understand how big that last one is.

First, let’s get back to Shenzhen and the subsidies. They are huge: 60,000 yuan from the city and 60,000 yuan from the central government to the buyer of a pure plug-in. That’s a total of 120,000 yuan or $18,362.64 in today’s dollars. That would be a big amount of money stateside, and the purchase power proponents will agree, that is is even bigger in China.

In Shenzhen, however, the money remained in the government coffers. Nobody wanted it.

Why would a customer not buy the BYD E6 over the BYD F3 with such a munificent donation? First, because there is no BYD E6 commercially available.  Second, because the conventional F3 costs $9,000 or so, maybe less with generous BYD-in-distress discounts. Whereas the E6, even assuming a low $30,000 MSRP, would still cost $11,638 after subsidies. They are Chinese, it makes a difference. With the F3, they can drive to Guangzhou and back, whereas with the E6 – do we really believe the 249 mile range? Anyway, moot matter, no E6 available.

In Beijing, the first time buyer does not have that choice. Whether F3 or A7, with a <em>mei you </em>(no have) license plate, any ICE powered car is for all intents and purposes out of reach. With an EV, the car can be driven on Monday. It can be driven on any day of the week (conventional cars must stay off the streets for one day, as per Beijing regs). No tax on top, to sweeten the deal until it drips.

For a Beijinger, it can’t get any better. Even if Ed McMahon himself would knock on my door and hand me the keys to the BMW 7series I just won in the Chinese Family Publishers sweepstakes, I could not drive it – no tags. McMahon can’t hand me the tags, not transferrable.

Suddenly, $11,638 or even $20,000 or more are afterthoughts. Remember: <a href=”../../../../../2011/04/ttac-dossier-chinese-roulette-or-the-tao-of-beijing-car-ownership/”>In Shanghai, people pay more than $7,000 for the license plate.</a>

The only problem: Which EV? I would not know which EV I could buy on Monday, as Ash Sutcliffe rightly comments over at <a href=”http://www.chinacartimes.com/2011/04/09/beijing-to-become-a-paradise-for-electric-vehicle-sales/”>Chinacartimes.</a>

This being Beijing, the press is full of mentions of Beijing’s carmakers Foton and of Beijing Auto. Both are owned by BAIC, which is controlled by the City of Beijing. Get the picture? No wonder the plan was waved-through so fast. Foton has an electric taxi out, the Foton Midi. I can’t buy it. It’s used as a trial in <a href=”http://goo.gl/maps/JXdb”>Yangqing</a>, which still is in Beijing proper, but way out there. I’m told, if I would tell the driver to take me downtown, or to the airport, he’d say <em>“bu yao”</em> – no good. Too far from the charging station in Yangqing.

Beijing Auto plans electrified versions of the former Saab. BAIC has a number of other vehicles in development. The operative word is “development.” So nothing from there – yet.

Who else?

Well there would be Nissan with a Leaf, or Mitsubishi with an i-Miev. Both market ready.

The Leaf would be just what the doctor ordered for Beijing. Nissan has plans for a few hundred in Wuhan this year, says <a href=”http://in.reuters.com/article/2010/04/08/idINIndia-47546620100408?pageNumber=1&amp;virtualBrandChannel=0http://in.reuters.com/article/2010/04/08/idINIndia-47546620100408?pageNumber=1&amp;virtualBrandChannel=0″>Reuters.</a> According to the Reuters report, Nissan wants to “make the Leaf in China as soon as possible, but the key issue to the decision is the sales volume.” That according to Tsunehiko Nakagawa, vice president of Nissan China Investment.

<em>Dozo, </em>Beijing is wide open. Let’s bring the Japanese price of $44K down a bit, say to $40K, deduct 18,362.64, and you have $21,638 – not bad if it’s the only choice you have. Around 140,000 yuan, a nice price point. Tough sell anywhere else, Nakagawa is right when he worries about sales volumes. But in Beijing? The Leaf could become mor ubiquitous than the Made-in-Beijing Hyundai Elantra taxi.

Mitsu’s i-MiEV would be ready also, but we have no China plans on the RADAR.

Shipping them from Japan may not be such a good idea at the moment, it would eat up 25 percent in customs duty anyway, spoiling all the fun.

Being first in this cornered market is absolutely essential. Let’s not forget: If you sell EVs here, you will be selling to first time buyers. Have never driven a car. They will grow up with an EV and will know nothing else. Here is the chance to sell to first-time affluent, worldly buyers, in the world’s second or third largest city (they are fighting it out with Shanghai) with the world watching. I bet Dongfeng would not mind at all.

If either Nissan or Mitsu will not occupy every street-level wall socket in Beijing (all conveniently 220V, and rock-solid supply), someone else will:

<a href=”http://www.volkswagenag.com/vwag/vwcorp/info_center/en/news/2011/04/Museum.html”>A few days ago, Volkswagen had sent out a blurb</a> about “becoming the friend of the National Museum in China.” I probably wasn’t the only one who immediately (electronically) spiked it.

Who cares whether VW donates a few cars to take people museum hopping in Beijing? Who cares whether “as part of this sponsorship, Volkswagen will launch its first electric vehicle fleet in Beijing?” We’ve heard that greenwashing before. Who cares whether “China plays an important role for Volkswagen´s goal to become the leader in the global electric vehicle market by 2018?” Hyperbola in green. Recycle bin.

In front of the new regulatory backdrop, (or “<em>unter den geänderten Rahmenbedingungen</em>” as the so much like to say in Deutschland), the electric museum shuttles become a stroke of genius and whoever had the sheer luck or inside information (being familiar with VW, my money is on sheer luck) just started the best timed promotion there is. Most likely he or she will get promoted. They run a fleet of Golf Blue-e-motion (to be launched in Germany in 2013, in the U.S. in 2014) and Touareg Hybrids (available). They can keep the Touareg Hybrid, and should launch the Golf Blue-e-motion immediately in Beijing. It would sell like hotcakes while the rest of China scrambles to make their prototypes ready for market.

Volkswagen doesn’t honestly believe that the Golf Blue-e-motion will be a volume model anywhere else. What did <a href=”../../../../../2010/11/vw%E2%80%99s-klingler-nobody-wants-evs-except-governments/”>Volkswagen’s sales chief Christian Klingler say?</a> “The electric car is not a request from the customer, the electric car is a request from the government.” Now he could say: “The electric car is a request from the customer, the electric car is a request from the government. We have a win-win!” They love win-wins in Wolfsburg.

Volkswagen’s joint venture partner FAW, maker of the Golf, would be delighted to produce the electrified version. Volkswagen’s southern JV partner SAIC has more electric know-how, but FAW wouldn’t mind picking some up. And while they are at it, they could also <a href=”http://www.faw-vw.com/en/index.php”>update the English version of their website.</a> It’s from 2009 and in the old CI that never went anywhere.<em> Bu kequi.</em>

<em> </em>

Do I sound excited? Yes, I am. As most around here know, I do not believe that the EV will be taking over the world anytime soon. I am a pragmatist. Most buyers are pragmatists when they get into the showroom. I have sat in too many focus groups, listened to how they lied about protecting the environment at all cost. In the store, they take the car that makes the most sense for their money.

In Beijing, the only car that makes sense for a first time buyer that did not win the lottery is an EV. It’s a market, ripe for the plugging.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

37 Comments on “Stick And Carrot: Why Beijing Will Become The World’s Electric Vehicle Capital...”


  • avatar
    Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

    Time for a Buick Volt, but deleted motor and additional batteries?

    (And a garage at the city limits that rents “range extender” trailers for use in intercity travel?)

    • 0 avatar

      Hush. That trailer idea could catch on even in the city. Have heard nothing against trailers. Let’s keep the cat in the bag for a while.

      • 0 avatar
        Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

        I wouldn’t be surprised if a large-enough trailer (with a flat boxer genset and cargo on top, like a 2-wheeled VW Transporter without a driver or drivetrain) would need to be registered, but if one were to have an EV with a class 2 or 3 hitch and a light microturbine genset that could be fitted to the hitch and ride on the back like a hitch-mounted bike rack…  You could probably put a 30-40hp microturbine plus say 4 gallons of fuel well within the tongue weight of a class 2 hitch..

        (or a suitcase-sized OPOC engine ;))

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    What this will do is see Chinese marques proxy the captive domestic EV market into exports abroad.  Not immediately, but now that there’s an assured baseline volume they can go that way, and do it more cheaply than was previously expected.
     
    More entrants into the market, more competition, more expertise, more leveraging economies of scale.  I’d fully expected to see Chinese EVs in North America by the end of the decade; I’d cut that estimate in half if this program keeps up.

  • avatar
    ajla

    A few questions:
     
    1. In the US, I’ve read many people claim that country’s power infrastructure can’t support a high number of electric cars. Would Beijing have a similar issue? If they wouldn’t, what makes their power system so strong?
     
    2. What’s to say that EV registration won’t be heavily regulated once they become popular?

    • 0 avatar

      1.) In the 7 years I’ve been here, there never was a power outage. BackUPS are as unknown as in Germany. Beijing at any Night looks like the South during Christmas: Lights everywhere, light shows on buildings, neon city. When they had power outages in the sticks, they grouched that they had to send it all to Beijing.
       
      2.) Nothing. Inscrutable orient.

      • 0 avatar
        charly

        2.) Depends on how popular and at what price point. If i would make a prediction than my expectation is that for the next few years most electric vehicles sold in Beijing will be electric BMW 5ers and its kin. The people who can afford those cars are the same type that capture regulatory bodies so i won’t expect a change.

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    The mind reels.
     
    Could you buy an electric, get the plate, and put it on your real car?
     
    Will Beijing become “China’s Friendliest Hometown”.

  • avatar
    DeadInSideInc

    Somewhere, in the bowels of the wasteland that is the City of Detroit GM must have a secret warehouse with all the EV1 tooling in it.
    Pack it into containers, NOW, and ship it to your partners @ FAW.

    Have them make a LWB variant with 2 extra doors and/or shove the drive system in GL8. BOOM: Buick EV!

    (And hey, the U-Body mini van pre-dates the EV1, so it would be another platform update).

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      The problem with the EV1 and similar is that the optimal battery format is patent-encumbered by, of all things, an oil company (GM sold the IP to Texaco) and as such, every EV since the EV1, the Prius included, is effectively using a suboptimal format or suffers for licensing costs.
       
      Yeah, no potential conflict of interest there.
       
      I do wonder if that patent even applies in China?

      • 0 avatar

        Yes , and Texaco put the patent in the same safe with the secret carburetor.
        Also, since when did China give a tic-tac-toe about IP? Aren’t they supposed to ignore all patents?
         
         

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        Wasn’t it copyrights that China ignores? Or is it trademarks?  I forget now.
         
        On a serious note, I don’t know about Chinese patent law, but wouldn’t it start with “Did you file?”.  I say this because, as I recall, sometimes people don’t and assume domestic and international agreements “just work”.
         
        As for the secret carb point: well, yes, there is that.  On the other hand, why lock in a safe when you can just hang it from a tree, tantalizingly out of reach, and drive people nuts with it?  Which is what Cobasys has done.

      • 0 avatar
        Robert.Walter

        EV1 is ancient history … I remember meeting with those guys in 93/4 and th cars cruising round in Detroit in like 96/7… assuming those patents had a priority date frome around 1990-95 timeframe, they are already expired or about to do so, and in the meantime, technology marches on … what, in the field of electronics, or electrical conversion, from 1990 is not already a commodity (or obsolete) by now? 

        Re. the secret carb, I still recall the old Ford engineer neighbor telling me that in the 1970′s, some guy came to ford with a car equipped with one of his own design, maybe using some water in part, got a development contract and secure garage space paid by ford, and then worked on the tech in big secret conditions, until finally, after spending like 500k bucks, they demanded to see what he was doing, and it turned out to be just some kind of scam…

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        @Robert:  it isn’t a trade secret or something particularly esoteric, it’s the EV equivalent of Amazon.com’s 1-click patent: something very fundamental to their format and packaging.  

  • avatar

    I am so glad that my money can go directly to China to fuel their economic growth while Americans enjoy a 10% unemployment rate and ride around on streets  and bridges that are crumbling while the reich wingers figure out a way to privatize all the services the government should be handling itself. WHY WILL CHINA BE THE EV CAPITAL OF THE WORLD?   BECAUSE THE PRC GOVERNMENT SAID SO.  And unlike America which watches as the government contemplates shutting down, the PRC Government actually moves it’s people forward.

    • 0 avatar
      cdrmike

      ….with a rubber truncheon, if needed.

      • 0 avatar
        StatisticalDolphin

        And never bring up the obvious to an EV zealot, the additional pollution belching power stations that will be needed if EVs are widely adopted.  Try to avoid torturing them, the twitching eyelids are a precursor to a full head explosion.  Nope, all the new juice is going to be provided by solar, wind, algae and unicorns running on treadmills.  Thats how they do it in China, why can’t da US?

      • 0 avatar
        Kendahl

         

        “….with a rubber truncheon, if needed.”

        In Tiananmen Square, they shot everybody. Compare that to treatment of protesters in the United States. Some have been treated pretty roughly, but outright murder has been rare.

      • 0 avatar
        th009

        @StatisticalDolphin, China has 27 (!) nuclear power stations under construction — I suspect that’s more power than the total Chinese EV fleet will be able to use for a while.

    • 0 avatar
      Kendahl

      “the PRC Government actually moves it’s people forward.”

      How about forcing them to go in directions they don’t want. Perhaps you don’t remember Mao’s Cultural Revolution when anybody with a brain and an education was beaten up and the survivors sent into the countryside to shovel manure.

      I am worried about things like high gasoline prices or shortages, because we are competing with the Chinese and Indians for crude oil, or traffic congestion, because the number of cars grows faster than the population. I can make minor adjustments to cope with them. But I am terrified of government mandates I can’t get around. Do you want to go back to a 55 mph national speed limit with modern enforcement technology? Hillary Clinton advocated this the last time gas prices got high. Obama likes flex fuel vehicles. What would happen to all the seviceable cars that cannot tolerate E? where ? is high enough to use all the ethanol the industry can produce?

    • 0 avatar
      FleetofWheel

      So a private sector employee performing the same work is scary and a government sector employee is safe and fuzzy?

      That you idolize the PRC saves Jonah Goldberg from pointing out the obvious in his next column.

      • 0 avatar
        Ubermensch

        I’m not defending the PRC but - a private sector employee is completely unaccountable to the public.  A public sector employee is fully accountable to the public and if they don’t perform to satisfaction can be removed by democratic vote.

  • avatar
    Kendahl

    How large is the geographic area of Beijing? My city is roughly 20 x 30 miles and my daily commute is 35 miles round trip. However, there are still days when I would run out of juice with any of the current EVs.

    A partial solution to the range problem is lots of charging stations. 220 volts at least. Preferably 440 volts. Nearly every place you can park a car, you need to be able to recharge it. Imagine some level of government in the US telling the owner of a parking lot, or a buisiness that provides customer and employee parking, that he had to provide a power outlet for every parking place. How about an outlet on every parking meter in the city? The Chinese government is one of the few that could force this to happen.

    • 0 avatar
      Trend-Shifter

      Bertel had an earlier article on Beijing’s 5-year plan to install over 200,000 charging stations in Beijing.     So I would guess everything is in the works. 

      I will be visiting an automaker in Liuzhou on Tuesday and one in Beijing on Wednesday.   This article will create some interesting discussions. 

      • 0 avatar
        Kendahl

        My 35 mile commute is about 75% free flowing 4- and 6-lane divided highway with a 60 mph speed limit. The rest is a 4-lane divided street with a 45 mph limit. There are four traffic lights. In the morning, I rarely get stuck at more than one. However, in the evening, it’s usually three.

        If all I did was commute to and from work with an occasional stop at a grocery store on the way home, an EV would have sufficient range. Howeer, there are times when my wife and I drop a car for service at an independent shop which doesn’t provide loaners. Then, the round trip becomes 85 miles. Now that she is retired, my wife could take the EV home and recharge it at the half way point. When she still worked, she would have needed a power outlet on her parking meter.

        Frequently, my wife drives another 25 to 40 miles to various evening events after my 35 mile commute. There isn’t enough time at home during supper to recharge an EV.

        Hybrids are very efficient in stop and go traffic. That’s why their city mileage rating tends to be higher than their highway rating.

    • 0 avatar
      musiccitymafia

      Kendahl – can you elaborate a little on your 35 mile commute. One of the lesser discussed benefits of EV is that energy consumption is more closely proportional to distance than for ICE vehicles. For example an ICE engine continues to consume when stuck in traffic.

  • avatar
    Dorian666

    ” or a business that provides customer and employee parking, that he had to provide a power outlet for every parking place.”
    That’s called a normal parking lot in the colder parts of Canada.
    All cars wont be EV’s so the malls will just need a row or two  of 220v metered plugins.  And grow as needed.
     

  • avatar
    Athos Nobile

    That’s a truly Historical decision. In fact this starts the EV revolution, without any green bullshit and 300 million discussions and complications. The market will start solving by itself, kinda.
     
    I’m also excited about this.
     
    About the cars in development, I’d bet many are ready for prime time, or at least to go to customers which may accept some of the shortcomings. I remember the ones we did when purchasing the first Motorola “brick” cell phones. BAIC itself must have some just waiting for this to happen.
     
    BAIC, Nissan/Renault, VW (as you mentioned), MINI, and other Chinese manufacturers will have the lead here. I may sound like a broken record, but this is the chance for Saab for turn around its fortunes, they have to bring those experimental 93 and put them in production. The import tariff shouldn’t impact that much a luxury brand. Volvo who recently announced plans for 1200 new hires will also capitalize this via its owner Geely.
     
     

  • avatar
    Dynamic88

    Setting aside the issue of the govt. dictating the propulsion system to be used – this creates the world’s largest real conditions EV test lab.   Who knows what lessons will be learned.
    Meanwhile, back in the states, we’ll sit on the sidelines mumbling about range anxiety.

  • avatar
    Philosophil

    Another great article, Bertel. This will be one of the more interesting social experiments to follow surrounding the automobile.

  • avatar
    Jellodyne

    A big part of the cost of an electric vehicle is batteries. Batteries could be made (and often are made) in China. I wonder if Japan could import their electric vehicles sans battery back and skip the duties on that part of it. The dealers could bundle price the car and Chinese battery pack to the purchaser.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

  • Re: 2015 Honda CR-V Adopts CVT

    HerrKaLeun - If you want a more powerful Honda, that is called Acura. Maybe they would sell 1000 of those beefed up CRV, but for that they gave up the lean production and...
  • Re: Lord, I Was Born A Ramblin Van

    Drzhivago138 - It’s a two-headed gila monster. One head is playing a clarinet rendition of “Foggy Mountain Breakdown,” the other is engaging in a spirited...
  • Re: 2015 Honda CR-V Adopts CVT

    Drzhivago138 - I’m not allowed by law to have any strong opinion on this matter, since my ’02 Mazda has a 3-speed with overdrive. Which, IIRC, was a big...
  • Re: 2015 Honda CR-V Adopts CVT

    Drzhivago138 - What is this, 1998?
  • Re: Lord, I Was Born A Ramblin Van

    Drzhivago138 - We haven’t had a stick-shift van since 1987. At least, that’s what I presume, since much of the powertrain was shared between trucks and vans....
  • Re: 2015 Honda CR-V Adopts CVT

    rockets - When we had to replace our (pitifully) beat up Odyssey for my wife this spring and decided to downsize, the CX5 was my first choice, the CRV second, and the Forester...
  • Re: Rental Review: Cadillac ATS 2.0T AWD

    burgersandbeer - Why does someone have to say this in every thread that mentions awd, as if awd and snow tires are mutually exclusive?
  • Re: Rental Review: Cadillac ATS 2.0T AWD

    speedlaw - I live in the tony suburbs north of NYC. The status truck is the Q7, or X5. A few towns East, Porsche and Range Rover/Land Rover win the school run car show...
  • Re: 2015 Toyota Yaris Has “European Flavor”, We’re Afraid To Ask…

    rockets - Mazda? BMW? Subaru? Who isn’t Toyota working with? Hope Mazda is going with 6spd trannies in the new...
  • Re: 2015 Acura NSX Spied At The Burgerkingring

    speedlaw - The NSX is the Duke Nukem of cars.

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Authors

  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • Tycho de Feyter, China
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Faisal Ali Khan, India