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NYT: If Only We Could Be More Like China

From an envious New York Times:

China Vies to Be World’s Leader in Electric Cars

By KEITH BRADSHER

April 2, 2009

TIANJIN, China — Chinese leaders have adopted a plan aimed at turning the country into one of the leading producers of hybrid and all-electric vehicles within three years, and making it the world leader in electric cars and buses after that.

The goal, which radiates from the very top of the Chinese government, suggests that Detroit’s Big Three, already struggling to stay alive, will face even stiffer foreign competition on the next field of automotive technology than they do today

To some extent, China is making a virtue of a liability. It is behind the United States, Japan and other countries when it comes to making gas-powered vehicles, but by skipping the current technology, China hopes to get a jump on the next.

Japan is the market leader in hybrids today, which run on both electricity and gasoline, with cars like the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight. The United States has been a laggard in alternative vehicles…

China’s intention, in addition to creating a world-leading industry that will produce jobs and exports, is to reduce urban pollution and decrease its dependence on oil, which comes from the Mideast and travels over sea routes controlled by the United States Navy.

But electric vehicles may do little to clear the country’s smog-darkened sky or curb its rapidly rising emissions of global warming gases. China gets three-fourths of its electricity from coal, which produces more soot and more greenhouse gases than other fuels.

A report by McKinsey & Company last autumn estimated that replacing a gasoline-powered car with a similar-size electric car in China would reduce greenhouse emissions by only 19 percent. It would reduce urban pollution, however, by shifting the source of smog from car exhaust pipes to power plants, which are often located outside cities.

Beyond manufacturing, subsidies of up to $8,800 are being offered to taxi fleets and local government agencies in 13 Chinese cities for each hybrid or all-electric vehicle they purchase. The state electricity grid has been ordered to set up electric car charging stations in Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin.

Government research subsidies for electric car designs are increasing rapidly. And an interagency panel is planning tax credits for consumers who buy alternative energy vehicles.

China wants to raise its annual production capacity to 500,000 hybrid or all-electric cars and buses by the end of 2011, from 2,100 last year, government officials and Chinese auto executives said. By comparison, CSM Worldwide, a consulting firm that does forecasts for automakers, predicts that Japan and South Korea together will be producing 1.1 million hybrid or all-electric light vehicles by then and North America will be making 267,000…

Electric cars have several practical advantages in China. Intercity driving is rare. Commutes are fairly short and frequently at low speeds because of traffic jams. So the limitations of all-electric cars — the latest models in China have a top speed of 60 miles an hour and a range of 120 miles between charges — are less of a problem

China is tackling the challenges with the same tools that helped it speed industrialization and put on the Olympics: immense amounts of energy, money and people…

As the article eventually gets around to mentioning, this is great for China since they enjoy relatively cheap electricity thanks to their huge (and growing) number of dirty coal burning power plants.

Similarly, Japan gets much of its electricity from nuclear power.

Too bad we can’t do either of those things, huh?

Instead, we are supposed to buy tiny death-trap electric cars that will run up the cost of electricity through the roof (cf ethanol and the price of corn), and thereby will soon cost a fortune to run.

And we are supposed to be glad to do it.

This article was posted by Steve on Thursday, April 2nd, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

9 Responses to “NYT: If Only We Could Be More Like China”

  1. GuppyNblue says:

    It probably won’t be long before electric cars are mandated and China will supply them to us. Just like that little digital converter box sitting on my tv.

  2. Right of the People says:

    Just comrade Oblah-blah wants. Next they’ll be telling us it is much better if we just walk to work, it is healthier for us and GREEN to boot. Think I’d better go take my meds before I burst a blood vessel.

    10-7

  3. curvyred says:

    During the Olympics someone else expressed the same thought – as he marveled at their infrastructure – can you guess who?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-IvjXnkHwA

  4. Liberals Demise says:

    30 yrs ago the chinese rode dink mobiles (bikes) everywhere………looks like soon we will be reading our little Red O book, reciting the words of Chairman “O” and riding our very own dink mobiles.

    Mary, Joseph and Jesus……….I loathe this regime and all that put it in power!!

  5. MinnesotaRush says:

    “The goal, which radiates from the very top of the Chinese government, suggests that Detroit’s Big Three, already struggling to stay alive, will face even stiffer foreign competition on the next field of automotive technology than they do today…”

    Nawwww! The Big Three will be “radiated” from the very top of the US government. They’ll be okay.

    “China’s intention, in addition to creating a world-leading industry that will produce jobs and exports, is to reduce urban pollution and decrease its dependence on oil, which comes from the Mideast and travels over sea routes controlled by the United States Navy.”

    Now what in God’s name does this drivel have to do with the price of tea in (let’s say) Botswana?

    “But electric vehicles may do little to clear the country’s smog-darkened sky or curb its rapidly rising emissions of global warming gases. China gets three-fourths of its electricity from coal, which produces more soot and more greenhouse gases than other fuels.”

    Memo from Editor-in-Chief: coulda left this paragraph out! :-)

    “Beyond manufacturing, subsidies of up to $8,800 are being offered to taxi fleets and local government agencies in 13 Chinese cities for each hybrid or all-electric vehicle they purchase. The state electricity grid has been ordered to set up electric car charging stations in Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin.”

    Now we get to the exciting part for o-blah-blah – the “plan”.

    “Electric cars have several practical advantages in China. Intercity driving is rare. Commutes are fairly short and frequently at low speeds because of traffic jams. So the limitations of all-electric cars — the latest models in China have a top speed of 60 miles an hour and a range of 120 miles between charges — are less of a problem…”

    And …. they should cost just under 50 grand!!! How exciting!!! All from your new and improved GM (Government Motors)!!!

  6. proreason says:

    “tiny death-trap electric cars that will run up the cost of electricity through the roof ”

    All the better to forward the unstated master plan…….which is to finally destroy the middle class and thus make sure that the Soroasters of the world are forevermore unchallenged by those nasty little people who think freedom can provide the priviledges that only the elite deserve.

  7. TwilightZoned says:

    “The goal, which radiates from the very top of the Chinese government, suggests that Detroit’s Big Three, already struggling to stay alive, will face even stiffer foreign competition on the next field of automotive technology than they do today…”

    I find this statement a bit ironic since BUICK is the number one selling brand in China.

  8. 12 Gauge Rage says:

    They had electric cars way back at the turn of the twentieth century too. But back then they had the same problems as todays models. A long down time between charges, huge lead based batteries that add weight, and the potential for large spills of sulfuric acid if involved in a collision with another car. Not mention the amount of space in a landfill these batteries will take up once their serviceability is gone. BTW, I don’t want to be like China. I’m kinda fond of the right to tell my government to kiss off without worrying about staring down the barrel of a tank when I do so.

  9. Liberals Make Great Speedbumps says:

    Have these idiots never heard of The Law of Conservation of Energy? Do they think that the electrons that will power these vehicles just magically appear out of the ether? All electric vehicles accomplish is to partially relocate the source of power from the vehicle’s fuel tank to a remote power plant.


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