Like their counterparts in the US, Europe and Japan, Chinese politicians and auto executives are concerned about air pollution and the effects of greenhouse gases. In fact there is a much more pressing need: energy security.
China already relies on imports for more than half of its oil needs, and its appetite for fuel is expected to keep rising.
Chinese vehicle production is expected to increase from 11 million in 2009 to 13 million this year and 19 million in 2016. Growth estimates vary widely, but many industry forecasters now anticipate annual Chinese vehicle sales to reach 20 million or more by 2020.
Henry Li, general manager of BYD Automobile Co.’s auto export trade division, said, "It’s not just a question of carbon dioxide but energy safety…That’s why we need electric vehicles."
The Detroit News reports that the Ernst & Young surveys show a great willingness on the part of Chinese consumers to try new technologies, with 60% saying they are ready to buy or at least strongly consider electric cars and plug-in hybrids.