Mirroring observations that have been made about the U.S. marketplace, experts attending the recent China Auto Forum suggested that the future of the ‘new-energy vehicle’ industry in China – particularly electric vehicles – will hinge largely on technological advancements, consumer buy-in, and policy and financial support.
‘The industry needs to rethink mobility from the ground up,’ said Keith Cole, vice president of government relations and public policy for General Motors (China) Investment Co. Ltd. ‘To win the market, auto manufacturers need to understand the charging behavior of Chinese consumers and design cars for China's future megacities.’
During the event, which was jointly hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai and the Investment Promotion Agency of China's Ministry of Commerce, industry leaders and government officials noted that domestic and foreign automakers and parts suppliers must be cognizant of consumer preferences, as well as government policy for the entire supply chain.
According to the China Automotive Technology and Research Center, 10,000 electric buses are already in operation in the country. Moreover, the number of electric vehicles is expected to reach 1 million by 2015 and 10 million by 2020.
However, the Chinese industry must contend with a number of challenges – such as the lack of industry standards and strong financial support – to ensure the sector's growth.
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