SAIC Group, the largest car maker in China in terms of sales and revenue, will set the pace in the new-energy vehicle segment by launching mass-produced pure-electric and fuel-cell cars during the period of China’s 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015), said a company executive.
“We will start sales of mass-produced pure-electric mini cars to individuals, with the initial model name of EP 11, under our homegrown ‘Roewe’ brand next year, and a mass-produced fuel-cell model in 2015,” said Gan Pin, the manager of SAIC’s new-energy vehicle division.
“The mass-production of pure-electric cars will start in units of several thousand, according to specific orders,” said Gan. “And we will expand production step-by-step in line with the rising market requirements.”
According to Gan, the pure-electric model, which will be sold in Shanghai first, will be priced at around 200,000 yuan ($31,000).
However customers will not have to pay the full asking price. They’ll get a discount of between 80,000 and 90,000 yuan, as the company can claim a subsidy of 50,000 yuan from a national subsidy plan, and more than 30,000 yuan from Shanghai’s municipal government.
Sales will then commence in five other cities, with local government support. A similar deal exists for the fuel-cell model, which will be eligible for a subsidy of 250,000 yuan for each unit. “In my opinion, the final price is reasonable and acceptable to individual buyers. That will truly push the use of new-energy vehicles,” said Gan.
He also told China Daily that to prepare for the mass use of “green” cars, SAIC is actively cooperating with the Shanghai government to establish a charging infrastructure in the city.
The Shanghai-based car maker will also launch its hybrid plug-in Roewe 550 car next year. The group has invested billions of yuan in the development process during the past five years, leading to a car which can halve fuel consumption.
“To keep ahead in the new-energy vehicle sector, SAIC will make great efforts in building a comprehensive industry chain for green cars during the 12th Five-Year Plan period,” said Gan.
In April, SAIC said that during the period, it plans to plunge 37 billion yuan into research and development of new models and new technologies, with most of the investment going into the new-energy vehicle sector.
Gan said that SAIC will improve the development of the domestic green-car industry chain by cooperating with both international and local players.
“We are confident that China has the capability to stay on top of the sector globally,” said Gan.
SAIC demonstrated its leading position in the green-car segment, not only among its Chinese peers, but also in the global market, when its two fuel-cell models took third place at the 11th Challenge Bibendum, an internationally recognized competition and gathering of new-energy vehicles and technologies.
SAIC was the only Chinese participant at the event, among more than 50 automotive industry players.