The domestic new energy vehicle (NEV) market is developing rapidly, a trend fully represented at the seventh Global Automotive Forum (GAF).
In the panel discussion “New Energy Vehicles: Outlook, Opportunities and Challenges,” held on the morning of June 6, representatives of automotive and component enterprises held a detailed discussion about technologies, policies, and global competition and cooperation. Although the sponsor had selected an assembly room twice the size of those of other discussions, some late-arriving audience members were left sitting on the floor or standing to listen because the session drew such a large, interested crowd.
As new energy vehicle development has progressed, related lines of innovation have gradually emerged including hybrid, plug-in hybrid, electric, and fuel cell technologies. Kazuyuki Iwata, chief engineer at Honda Motor Co., introduced Honda’s latest exploration into hydrogen fuel cell technology and put forward the goal of hydrogen fuel cell-related sales reaching two-thirds of Honda’s total sales.
“Honda Motor hopes to build a smart community of hydrogen fuel cells, which would achieve the goal of harmonious co-existence”, Iwata said, “Automobiles could be used as batteries or generators which would mean a lot when dealing with sudden natural disasters.” Honda will also build small hydrogen stations in communities. “Hydrogen power can also be used to fuel medical equipment”, Iwata noted.
As for the landscape of development of new energy vehicles in China, Francois Provost, president of Dongfeng Renault Automotive Corporation and senior vice president of China operations, Renault Group, is confident in the Chinese government’s strong support of the development of new energy vehicles and views this support as a very good asset to the industry.
As a newly founded joint venture, Dongfeng Renault has ventured into the new energy vehicle field. “With the technical support from the Renault-Nissan Alliance, Renault has initiated sales of electric vehicles in the European market. Meanwhile, we also are cooperating with Dongfeng Motor to launch the Wind E300, which serves as the beginning for further great cooperation”, Provost said. He further noted that Dongfeng Renault, as the automobile supplier, will further propel the development of automotive industry.
In the opinion of Paul Lin, executive vice president of YUDO New Energy Automobile Co., Ltd., FJ Motor Group, the development of new energy vehicles in China more resembles “a feast upon policy benefits”. He pointed out that various phenomena including new energy vehicle subsidy exploitation, battery overproduction, and a lack of diligence in capital use, have brought great uncertainty to the automotive industry and that regional protective policies have isolated the autonomous development of the whole market.
Lin emphasized that Chinese government support is very substantial, but some problems need to be addressed. He noted that stability of government policy is essential to the development of the automotive industry. “The research and development of automobile products lasts for more than 30 months, which leads to a need for steady, dependable government support”, said Lin.
“What would happen if the government ceased aiding the automotive industry? ” said Frank Petznick, member of the Executive Board Electronics and executive vice president of Electronics – China at HELLA KGaA. “As long as the new markets exist, new enterprises will join us. How we apply new technologies at a proper time in the market is the key,” Petznick said.
“On the other hand, basic design also plays an essential role”, Petznick emphasized, “In the next few years, the government will also play an important role in the development of new energy vehicles. However, the market will be perfected, and the automotive industry will be marketized, forming a self-regulating ecosystem.”
When it comes to the current struggling situation of new energy charging infrastructure construction, Chen Wei, Deputy Chairman of Lifan Auto, introduced Lifan’s explorations into new energy vehicle charging. He said one “Energy Changing Station” could serve for two thousand electric vehicles, preventing the need to build two thousand individual charging posts. As changing the electric battery takes a shorter time than conventional charging, the technology will be more convenient for consumers.
Chen noted that, according to current government requirements, the anticipated investment in electronic vehicle charging station infrastructure is about 2 trillion RMB, and total required investment could reach 3 trillion RMB. However, the “Changing Station Model” only requires 1.1 trillion RMB in investment and could provide power for 20 million vehicles. The method of vehicle recharging has become an obstacle for new energy vehicle development. Chen expressed his hope that the “Changing Model” will offer more choice to consumers and that, although not very successful in manufacturing the conventional fuel vehicles, Lifan will bring surprises to the new energy vehicle industry in the future.
-Published on pages#18-19, June-2016 edition of MOBILE WORLD Magazine