NEVs will help put vehicle industry on the fast track

Updated 2017-12-05 13:31:57 China Daily
Guangzhou Automobile Group Co and Tencent jointly released the iSPACE electric concept car in Guangzhou, Guangdong province last month.

Guangzhou Automobile Group Co and Tencent jointly released the iSPACE electric concept car in Guangzhou, Guangdong province last month.

The development of intelligent connected and new energy vehicles will become a major business growth driver for the Guangzhou Automobile Group Co, a major automaker based in Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong province, according to a senior company executive.

In the years ahead, the global auto industry will be focused on "intelligent driving and energy saving", said Feng Xingya, president of GAC Group.

In a major effort to boost those lines of business, the GAC Group reached a cooperative agreement with the internet technology giant Tencent Holdings Ltd early in September.

In mid-November, the two companies jointly launched an in-car intelligent network terminal product, which will be installed in GAC's various models in the near future.

"Internet-based vehicles will become a major force in the automobile market," Feng said.

"We will make use of advantages in cloud computing, artificial intelligence and big data processing to help develop intelligent connected vehicles."

Based on the terminal product, which will go into mass production by 2018, GAC's cars will be smart in voice interaction, intelligent driving and personalized performance, Feng said.

The terminal product was based on GAC's self-innovated intelligent network platform and Tencent's vehicle-connected AI In Car system, which is an integration of safety, big data, cloud computing and artificial intelligence.

According to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, China has become the world's largest market for electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids, with about 490, 000 electric vehicles sold in the first 10 months of 2017.

In July, the GAC Group also set up a subsidiary company, the GAC New Energy Co, after it started construction of an industrial park focusing on development of new energy and intelligent vehicles in April.

The park, with an investment of more than 45 billion yuan (.78 billion), is located in the Hualong township of Guangzhou's Panyu district.

The park will help integrate resources of cutting-edge technologies of intelligent connected and new energy vehicles, aiming to develop into an ecological automobile township focusing on innovation and intelligent manufacturing, according to Gu Huinan, general manager of GAC New Energy Co.

"Development of new energy cars will help tackle the problems of environmental pollution and energy shortage," Gu said.

The booming information technology and artificial intelligence sectors, especially, have helped lay a solid foundation for the developing trends of producing cars with more electrification, intelligence, internet-based connection and sharing services, according to Gu.

The company also released the iSPACE electric concept car and its fully electric SUV model GE3 during the Guangzhou International Automobile Exhibition, which concluded on Nov 26.

The concept car is equipped with Tencent's AI in Car system, allowing drivers better interactions with the vehicles.

According to Gu, the company will release a new vehicle capable of unmanned driving by 2019.

"Sales of fully electric vehicles will dramatically increase within the next five years," said Gu, adding that the company will develop more than 20 varieties of new energy cars by 2020.

The production and sale of new energy vehicles will account for more than 10 percent of the company's total by 2020, according to the company.

GAC Group produced and sold about 1.65 million vehicles in the first 10 months of this year, an increase of about 26 percent year-on-year, according to the company.

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