Electric Plans for Renault & Daimler

Electric Plans for Renault & Daimler

Queensland Government has joined a new international initiative to accelerate the take up of electric vehicles (EV) when Climate Change and Sustainability Minister Kate Jones test drove a new Renault Fluence ZE electric vehicle in Copenhagen. Meanwhile Daimler is working on a test drive for an electric version of its Smart minicar for China.

By Patricia Jiayi Ho and Norihiko Shirouzu for Wall Street Journal (14 December 2009):

BEIJING — Daimler AG plans to start a pilot program for an electric version of its Smart minicar in China next year, joining a growing list of firms evaluating the potential for next-generation clean-energy vehicles in the world’s biggest automobile market.

Daimler is currently considering which cities to test the cars in, said Ulrich Walker, chairman of Daimler Northeast Asia, in a year-end briefing with reporters. “We have to see the acceptance of this car,” he said.

The move follows an announcement by the central government last week that it will subsidize private purchases of alternative-energy vehicles in five cities.

Chinese auto makers such as BYD Co., which plans to market all-electric battery cars and other clean-energy cars, say government subsidies are key if pricey alternative-energy vehicles are to be feasible in China on a large scale for consumers and producers.

The German auto maker’s move highlights the potential it sees in China for all-electric and other new-energy cars. “We think there are opportunities for electric [vehicles] in China and we are exploring opportunities,” Beijing-based spokesman Trevor Hale said.

Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz unit currently sells the S400 Hybrid in China, which is based on conventional hybrid technology. Electric vehicles and plug-in cars use newer technology that allows vehicles to be driven exclusively or primarily on electricity.

Nissan Motor Co. said in November it plans to test-market its Leaf electric in China in 2011 by making it available to government agencies and other fleet customers in the city of Wuhan.

General Motors Co. intends to launch the plug-in hybrid electric vehicle Chevrolet Volt in China, starting in 2011. The Volt is powered by lithium-ion batteries and is supplemented by a gasoline engine.

Toyota Motor Corp. has also said it will likely test-market a plug-in hybrid in China.

Meanwhile, Daimler said more Mercedes-Benz buyers are turning to financing rather than cash for their purchases, perhaps reflecting a slowly growing acceptance of credit use. Mr. Walker said Mercedes-Benz’s financing portfolio for retail customers and dealerships in China has doubled to 4 billion yuan ($586 million) from the end of 2008.

About 12.5% of Mercedes-Benz vehicles sold in China were bought on credit, as opposed to cash, Mr. Walker said, without giving last year’s rate. In smaller cities, financing rates were as high as 30%, he said. Those rates are still relatively low and compare to 50% in the U.S. and Europe, according to the company.

Daimler received regulatory approval to offer vehicle leases in February, but Chinese customers have been slow to embrace the concept, Mr. Walker said.

Mr. Hale said Mercedes-Benz expects its sales in China next year to be “much better” than the overall market’s estimated 15%-20% growth. Mercedes-Benz sales in China in the January-November period rose 68% to 59,150 units.

Source: www.online.wsj.com


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Qld steps into the future of decarbonised transport

The Queensland Government has overnight joined a new international initiative to accelerate the take up of electric vehicles (EV). 

Climate Change and Sustainability Minister Kate Jones overnight test drove a new Renault Fluence ZE electric vehicle in Copenhagen. 

Minister Jones also met with Shai Agassi, CEO of Better Place in relation to a future roll-out of electric cars in Queensland with a particular emphasis on application to the taxi fleet. 

The EV20 initiative brings together over 20 leading cities, states and nations with the most ambitious players in the electric vehicle industry. 

Ms Jones said the aim of EV20 was to fast track the development and deployment of electric vehicles and identify pathways to making them commonplace around the world. 

“The initiative recognises that market transformation will require a combination of public policy and business innovation,” Ms Jones said. 

“Electric vehicles combined with smart grid technology and increased renewables has the potential to significantly reduce generation. 

“Electric vehicles can only occur with increased renewable energy. 

“The Commonwealth Government has a renewable energy target of twenty per cent by 2020 and this initiative can help Queensland move to a low carbon economy. 

“Internationally, many jurisdictions are already investing in the expansion of greater numbers of electric vehicles or are actively encouraging a rapid uptake. 

“The EV20 initiative will facilitate international exchange so that Queensland can learn from the experience of other countries.” 

EV20 was announced at the 2009 Climate Leaders Summit in Copenhagen to coincide with international climate change talks. 

Ms Jones attended the Climate Leaders Summit as the official Queensland representative. 

“Joining this initiative steps up Queensland’s focus on transport technologies of the future,” Ms Jones said. 

“It aligns with the current work of the Premier’s Council on Climate Change on opportunities and policy needs associated with greater adoption of EVs in Queensland. 

Ms Jones will be meeting with Better Place in the near future to discuss opportunities for Queensland. 

Source: www.cabinet.qld.gov.au

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