Chinese automakers showcase green car ambitions at Shanghai auto show

11:23, April 22, 2011      

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Visitors pour in the 14th Shanghai International Automobile Industry Exhibition in east China's Shanghai, April 21, 2011, the first day the exhibition open to public. About 2,000 carmakers and parts providers from 20 countries and regions showcased 1,100 car models, while 75 of which made their world premieres in the auto show. (Xinhua/Xu Peiqin)

Chinese automakers have unveiled their ambitious environment-friendly car designs at the ongoing Shanghai Auto Show, but experts warn that there is a long way ahead before most families are driving green cars.

The Shanghai Auto Show, which opened to the public on Thursday, has gathered about 45 models of new environment-friendly vehicles - hybrid, electric and fuel cell - from both local automakers and their foreign rivals.

A Roewe 550 plug-in hybrid car displayed at the booth of the Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp. (SAIC), China's largest automaker by sales volume, is capable of conserving 50 percent more fuel, compared with its conventional version, according to the company.

Along with the Roewe 550 hybrid are four other energy-conserving vehicles: a Roewe 350 electric car, an E1 electric concept car, a plug-in fuel cell car and a concept car dubbed the Leaf.

SAIC plans to mass produce its Roewe 550 hybrid in 2012 and roll at least 50 plug-in fuel cell cars off assembly lines before 2015, president Chen Hong told a forum on the sidelines of the show, adding that the company aims to control 20 percent of the green car market by 2015.

SAIC's major competitor, FAW Group from northeast China's Jilin Province, brought nine new green vehicles to the show.

The country's second-largest automaker plans to spend 9.8 billion yuan (1.5 billion U.S. dollars) on developing 16 environment-friendly passenger and business models by 2015, chairman Xu Jianyi said at the show.

Zhu Fushou, the newly appointed president of China's third-largest automaker, Dongfeng Motor Corp. (DMC), announced at the show that his company was planning to launch its first electric car next year.

Zhu expected the company's electric car sales to reach 100,000 units by 2015, accounting for two percent of the company's total sales of 5 million vehicles.

As these major automakers in China are ready to embrace the automotive industry's new era, auto experts, however, warn that there are quite a few hurdles to overcome before alternative fuel vehicles, electric cars in particular, hit the road in large numbers.

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