The Mercedes Concept EQ, a pure electric vehicle, makes its Asia debut at Auto Guangzhou 2016. (CHEN JIANLI/XINHUA）
Government urges industry to take lead in creating the cars of the future
Despite slowing growth and fading subsidies, carmakers are betting big on research and development in new energy vehicles, with ambitious plans and fresh concepts unveiled at Auto Guangzhou in the southern Chinese city.
The ongoing auto show opened to the public on Saturday. As the largest such event in southern China taking up 220,000 square meters of floorspace, it features an electric vehicle display of the latest charging facilities and batteries.
New energy products are on display, covering the varied sectors along the industrial chain, including charging station equipment, charging poles, battery modules and traction batteries.
"The new energy vehicle industry has made significant progress and achievements in R&D in critical technologies and key products," said Wan Gang, minister of science and technology, on Wednesday. "Overall development has reached the world's leading level."
Wan stressed that "to ensure the progressiveness of the technologies, a full plan should be made for the next step in the development of new energy vehicle technology, and it should focus on synergy and mutual support among the technologies."
Wan made these remarks at a symposium with the nation's experts in the new energy vehicles sector.
Dong Yang, secretary-general of the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, said the growth in the new energy vehicle market is slow and steady, and he expects annual sales of 500,000 units, despite the projection of 750,000 units made earlier this year.
"Growth slowed down from the extremely fast pace last year, but now development is more solid," Dong said. "There were many electric cars registered as delivered last December, but later were found to be carrying unreliable batteries, or even had no batteries."
Many electric vehicle makers were found to be cheating with used batteries made with out-of-date technologies, and in September regulators announced penalties for five new energy vehicle producers who illegally obtained government subsidies. Right after authorities cracked down on subsidy scams early this year, the country saw a drastic slowdown in new energy vehicle output and sales.