A Ride To An Electrifying Future

Recently, I received an invitation for a two-day VIP experience with Denza. Denza is a new energy vehicle produced by a joint venture between German giant, Daimler, and Chinese electric vehicle maker, BYD. It was my first experience riding in an emission-free car. Having the opportunity to take a “green journey” makes me feel quite excited. Now I am in love with the driving experience! Denza has a powerful engine and beautiful exterior. It is cost effective and, more importantly, causes no harm to our environment.

New energy vehicle (NEV): The future of automotive industry transformation?

While there has been favorable, “going green” acceptance for NEVs, there has also been resistance due to concerns about practicability and convenience of the battery-charging infrastructure. NEVs are an eco-friendly alternative to fluctuating oil prices and fuel availability since electricity can be generated from renewable resources such as wind, solar, hydro, nuclear and biofuel, as well as from fossil fuel sources, including natural gas, oil and coal. Studies have shown that the lithium-ion battery technology in NEVs produces greater power and energy density. Therefore, driving is quieter, cleaner and cheaper to run than normal gas-powered vehicles in the long term.

Beijing Daily reported that the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology showed that 25,000 new energy cars were manufactured in June 2015. Total production of NEVs in the first half of 2015 tripled compared to last year. Automakers continue to develop new models of NEVs for 2015 and 2016, offering around 20 miles of all-electric driving as part of multi-mode hybrid systems that aim to provide high performance. Some examples are the Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid, BMW X5 xDrive40e, and Mercedes-Benz GLE550e Plug-In Hybrid. Mercedes-Benz NEVs can be fully charged on 240V in two hours or in up to five hours from a 110V household AC socket. Volkswagen also has a fast-charging capability for plug-in hybrids. Tesla, on the other hand, offers free charging service to its buyers and has roughly 200 Supercharger sites installed around China. Denza is the latest model that maximizes the advantage of China’s effort in pushing towards more green vehicles on the road. The government is helping to boost Denza’s attractiveness with subsidies of up to RMB 120,000 (about $19,300 USD) for each vehicle purchased.

In line with the Chinese government’s energy-saving, zero-emissions and pollution-reducing goals, new policies that encourage purchase of NEVs have benefited the industry. China’s major cities suffer much higher airborne pollutant levels than recommended by WHO. This makes NEVs so much more relevant in supporting local air quality efforts.

On the other hand, despite being the world’s biggest automotive market and all that has been done to spur demand for NEVs — from beneficial policies (extended subsidies, reimbursement of 30% of the NEV purchase price, avoidance of the 10% purchase tax, etc.) to limiting sales of regular vehicles in some highly polluted cities – consumers remain concerned by limited recharge sources and the reliability of infrastructure. This has resulted in incredibly low sales figures in China compared to the U.S, Europe and Japan. Even applications for license plates reserved for electric vehicles still do not reach a significant number compared to increasing application for gasoline vehicles.

Building a successful NEV market requires thoughtful infrastructure development and supportive and effective policies, as well as automotive industry technical innovations. With increasing consumer reception of zero-emission cars, NEVs will gradually earn market growth and play a role in transforming the future of the automotive industry.

The fact that China has natural coal reserves to support coal-fired power charging allows the government to spur demand with a long-term goal of displacing traditional fuel needs with pure electric and fuel cell transportations. On a side note, possible coal-fired pollution due to carbon emissions will also be addressed, as China is also working on developing carbon capture technology. The Beijing municipal government also reported that agreements between property developers and automotive companies have been established, and installing charging facilities at residential buildings and shopping malls will resolve recharging concerns. If these measures succeed, China’s green revolution may just work out after all!

Are you ready to embark on a green journey?