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Automakers charge ahead with electrics in China, even as policy drive slows

20 April 2017, 06:15 | Marlene Myers

More surprisingly, Volvo, also announced that the EV would be built on the car-manufacturers smaller platform corresponding to the 40-series vehicle models, which goes against previous communications about an electric SUV.

The electric vehicle concept has been unveiled at the Shanghai Auto Show, and industry insiders suggest that it will reach production, retaining its electric drivetrain, by 2020.

GKN declined to name the European client, but said the manufacturer would sell Chinese-made electric motors worldwide, and further supply agreements with domestic and global vehicle manufacturers had been signed.

Volvo has two factories in China and in 2015 became the first automaker to export Chinese-made cars to the United States.

The industry is rattled by Beijing's proposal to require that electric cars make up 8% of every brand's production as soon as next year. "We believe that electrification is the answer to sustainable mobility".

"There is a clear (Chinese) government policy in favour of electromobility - high subsidies and an industrial framework in the form of joint venture companies which are being encouraged to invest in this technology", Diess said, adding Beijing appeared to be trying to replicate the success of hybrid auto technology in Japan and diesel vehicles in Germany. It is to be the first in a full range of pure-electric vehicles for China.

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On Tuesday, Volkwagen AG announced plans to launch a pure-electric vehicle in China next year with a state-owned partner. The 40-series is known to include the S40 saloon and XC40 small SUV - the latter of which is due to go on sale later this year.

Details of the plug-in electric drivetrain have not been released but MG says that it makes the E-motion capable of a sub four-second 0-62mph time, while having a range between charges of more than 310 miles.

Sales growth fell to 1.7% in March from last year's 15%.

Ford's Schoch said that as manufacturing volume of batteries - an electric car's most expensive component - expands, costs should fall, making them competitive with combustion engines.

While green energy auto sales have risen dramatically on the back of government policies, making China the world's leading market in this segment, electric cars have otherwise generated little consumer interest. It is also developing a fully electric vehicle on its larger Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) platform. The company says it plans to develop plug-in hybrid versions of all its models.



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