SHANGHAI - Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Corp (BAIC) has unveiled its first self-developed electric car, joining domestic rivals to tap potential demand for clean energy cars.
The model, known as BE701, is capable of going as far as 200 kilometres when fully charged, with a maximum speed of 160 kilometres per hour, BAIC said in a statement over the weekend.
It did not provide a timetable for mass production of BE701, but unveiled details of a new clean energy vehicle development and manufacturing facility it had just set up, involving total investment of 2.28 billion yuan (S$463.75 million).
The fund would come from the government and other sources, the statement said without elaborating.
The facility, based in the outskirt of Beijing, will be able to make 50,000 electric vehicles and 100,000 hybrid models, it said but did not specify the timetable. BAIC, a partner of Daimler AG, meanwhile, has set up a company focused on clean energy vehicles only, which expects to sell between 20,000 to 40,000 green models annually in 2011.
By 2015, the firm aims to book annual sales of 15 billion yuan (S$3,051 million), accounting for between 5 to 10 percent of BAIC's total sales, the statement added.
Other domestic automakers, such as Chery Automobile and BYD Co, partly owned by a unit of U.S. billionaire investor Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc, are also investing in "green" cars.
Chery unveiled in February its self-made electric car, S19, in February, capable of going as far as 150 kilometers on electricity when fully charged, with a maximum speed of 120 kilometres per hour.
BYD Auto, a subsidiary of the Hong Kong-listed rechargeable battery maker, launched its plug-in hybrid car F3DM in China late last year.
The e6, an all-electric crossover, BYD hopes to ship to the United States next year, can run 400 kilometres per charge. Beijing unveiled a plan earlier in February to subsidise the purchase of clean-energy vehicles for public transport fleets in 13 cities to help its automobile industry develop green technology.
The trial scheme will promote the use of electric, hybrid and fuel-cell vehicles by public transport operators, taxi firms and postal and sanitary services.
Subsidies will be based on the gap in prices between more energy-efficient vehicles and those with traditional engines,, with subsidies running up to 600,000 yuan (S$122,040) on a fuel cell powered large commercial bus.