China may be ready to support hybrid vehicles, instead of counting on plug-ins, as the pathway to reduce tailpipe emissions and dependence on imported oil.
The Chinese government wants one in four vehicles to be traditional hybrids that run on both gasoline and electricity by 2030. Bloomberg reported that statement comes from a transcript of comments made Wednesday by Ouyang Minggao, who leads a group China’s auto industry regulator commissioned to set targets for clean, energy-saving vehicles.
If adopted, China would change course on its move away from hybrids and towards generous incentives to manufacture and purchase plug-in electrified vehicles. That policy change is expected to be a big boost for Toyota and suppliers like Hunan Corun New Energy Co.
Hybrid sales should account for eight percent of total passenger vehicle sales by 2020 and rise to 20 percent by 2025, before reaching the 25 percent mark by 2030. That forecast comes from the Technology Roadmap for Energy Saving and New Energy Vehicles, drafted for the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.
China requires automakers to lower the average fuel consumption of their vehicles to 5 liters per 100 kilometers by 2020 from the current 6.9 liters. The government previously targeted a 10-fold increase in electric vehicle sales by 2025, but the new policy may alter that goal.
Manufacturers such as Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co. and Hunan Corun have been lobbying the government to step up support for development of gasoline-electric hybrids. Toyota has been planning on bringing more hybrids to the Chinese market.
Toyota plans to bring a hybrid version of its RAV4 sport utility vehicle to market in China as soon as possible, Matsumoto Shinichi, executive vice president of Toyota’s local engineering and manufacturing unit, told Bloomberg in April prior to the Beijing auto show. The Japanese automaker plans to localize the development and production of hybrid SUVs in China, after introducing its Corolla and Levin hybrid compact cars late last year.
“This is the first time we set a clear target for developing non plug-in hybrid technology,” said Wang Hewu, an associate professor at the department of automotive engineering of Tsinghua University, who was involved in drafting the road map. “The government has always been emphasizing the importance of developing energy-saving vehicles.”