The world’s biggest carmakers are making sure they make a splash at this year’s Beijing auto show—and that’s led to a record number of cars being showcased by foreign and domestic automakers. This year hybrid and alternative energy cars are among those grabbing the spotlight.
Wandering around the Beijing auto show, there’s no mistaking that both foreign and domestic car makers are trying to gain a strong foothold in the hybrid and electric vehicle market. Audi’s A3 e-tron will be in production next year, BYD’s brand new pure eletric vehicle Qin will hit the showrooms soon and Porsche’s e-hybrid Panamera has been on the road in China since last year.
New Energy Cars at Beijing Auto ShowThe world's biggest carmakers are making sure they make a splash at this year's Beijing auto show---and that's led to a record number of cars being showcased by foreign and domestic automakers. This year hybrid and alternative energy cars are among those grabbing the spotlight.
This is the much anticipated Bentley hybrid concept, one of the 79 new energy cars being featured this year. While forward looking cars like this one look great at an anto show, there’re still barriers in getting them on the road.
Recently several cities have announced plans to build more charging stations. Shanghai wants to build at least 6,000 charging stations by the end of next year, tripling the current number. But having the infrastructure ready is just part of the picture. Under current policies, Chinese governments at all levels are only subsidizing new energy cars that can be charged with electricity, rather than hybrid models that don’t require a plug-in. So it’s almost impossible for imported cars or those developed with their local partners to be eligible for government subsidy programs, a critical factor for an alternative energy cars’ success in the Chinese market.
Since the beginning of this year, Beijing and Shanghai have expanded their short list of subsided models. Still, a lot more needs to be done before new energy cars can really take off. According to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, a total of 17,600 new energy cars were sold in 2013, a near 40% increase from 2012, but still far from the total sales of 500,000 , the 2015 official target. But carmakers are optimistic about the future.