China's goal of putting three million electric cars on the road by 2025 still appears to be on track. But some automakers who took government funds without delivering as promised are being forced to pay that money back.
The electric car industry is booming in China. At the Chengdu Auto Show, held this month in southwest China's Sichuan Province, electric vehicles were seen just about everywhere. Chinese-- and foreign automakers, showcasing their latest electric innovations.
President of Volvo Car Asia Pacific, Yuan XIaolin, said, "Our objective is, by 2025, there will be one million Volvo cars that are powered by electrification. So, we have a full range of cars that have plug-in hybrid of full battery electrified."
Chinese automaker JAC just developed its first all-electric SUV. It was developed entirely by its own Chinese research and development team.
Deputy GM of Jac Motors Yan Gang said, "JAC Motors have been adhering to development driven by innovation. The main focus is on new energy vehicles, including pure electric vehicles and hybrid vehicles. Pure electric vehicles can help solve the complete structural transformation of the auto industry."
JAC is in talks to join forces with German automaker Volkswagen. This month, the two companies signed an agreement to explore electric vehicle manufacturing together.
JAC is hoping for a new breakthrough. This year, it has registered just six-thousand sales of its i-E-V 4. That's far behind the leader: BYD, which has proven to be the best-selling electric car of the year in China.
China is now the world's largest electric car market, selling some 330-thousand electric and hybrid cars last year. It is even beginning to export the technology. Two Chinese car makers-- JAC and Lifan Group-- entered Brazil in 2009 and 2010. Two others followed, including BYD Auto. Today, BYD produces both electric cars and buses in Brazil.
BYD's senior VP Li Ke said, "By bringing a series of products such as, energy storage, solar power, bus, electric truck, taxi, and customer car to Brazil, BYD will cover whole South America market."
The Chinese government has heavily subsidized electric car development, as part of plans to reduce air pollution. It is now implementing new checks, after discovering five companies had abused the subsidy program. These companies either overstated their own capabilities, or falsified sales information.
The government plans to phase out these green car subsidies by 2020 all the more reason for auto makers to innovate and boost sales.