On the eve of the two conferences, Mr Li Shufu - 12th CPPCC National Committee member and CEO of Zhejiang's Geely Holding Group - publicly announced his proposals for the meetings which are as follows:
“Nationwide Promotion of Methanol Fuelled Cars, Developing Alternative Fuels”
“Carefully Beginning Precise Surveying and Mapping to Reduce Barriers to the Development of Driverless Cars”
On March 2nd at the Geely Proposal Conference, CEO Mr Li dissected both issues from many perspectives for the audience of journalists present. He also emphasised the importance of methanol fuelled cars and driverless vehicles. He expressed that in order to ensure the security of China's resources and better the air quality of the environment, action must be taken to follow a path of resource diversification according to China's current resource infrastructure and market.
Promoting Methanol Fuelled Cars
Mr Li suggests a switch to methanol fuelled cars to help face the growing environmental problems and the challenges of ever decreasing petroleum stores.
In a statement he commented “I am not opposed to the development of electric cars, but the is no permanent solution to the battery's own problems” He pointed out that over many years of research and development with ample testing, methanol's cleanliness, efficacy and safety as a fuel source has received broad acknowledgement both at home and abroad. In addition China has sufficient capacity and output to ensure that methanol can act as a transitional product as many other car manufacturers have similar product technology.
It is reported that testing started in 2014 in Jinzhong City, Shaanxi Province. Currently numerous cities have begun using methanol fuelled cars but a nationwide instigation is yet to be seen.
Mr Li believes that if a rapid development of methanol cars is desired, the following steps should be taken:
push methanol cars onto the market as soon as possible; continue to perfect measure for safety evaluations, supporting facilities, management etc; make methanol a strategic alternative resource bringing it into the transportation fuel system; conduct clinical, scientific work to clear up any misunderstandings that the public may have regarding methanol fuel.
Develop Driverless Cars
The importance of developing driverless cars is undoubted by the automobile industry. Mr Li has made numerous proposals upon the topic already. With regards to the domestic situation, Mr Li this time suggests that barriers to the development of driverless cars are reduced further by beginning to map and survey more accurately allowing for faster R&D.
At the moment it seems that the development of such technology will accelerate after 2020 and enter the key production period. There are at present many semi-automated cars on the road, Mr Li believes that it will not be long before yet more semi-automated or even driverless vehicles appear in the market. However legal restrictions regarding testing of and subsequent large scale promotion of driverless cars exist across all countries and regions.
“Automobile industries need to want for greater improvement, they need to test their technology on real roads and if there is no improvement in mapping and surveying, then there will be no progress in the field of driverless cars” commented Mr Li. If we can break free of the legal restrictions surrounding mapping and surveying, China's driverless car development programs will experience a rapid step forward. He hopes to work together in this field with there automobile companies worldwide.
When discussing the condition of the multidisciplinary enterprises involved in automated driving, Mr Li believes that companies of a different background will make different business decisions. The idea of driverless cars put forth by the internet is simply the internet's thinking. Iterative development leads to iterative generalisations. But the auto industry thinks differently: something can only become a product once safety has been guaranteed. Before a customer uses a product, more precise experiments and more data collection are required.