Economy, Auto

Geely to Go Electric

Geely to Go ElectricGeely to Go Electric

Geely Automobile Holdings said it will equip more than 90% of its models with alternative-energy powertrains in the next five years, the most ambitious plan by a Chinese carmaker so far to improve fuel efficiency ahead of a government-mandated deadline.

About two-thirds of Geely’s new-energy vehicle models will be conventional gasoline-electric hybrids and plug-in hybrids by the end of the decade, with the remaining being battery-electric vehicles, the company said on Wednesday.

China has a deadline requiring automakers to lower average fuel consumption across their models from 6.9 liters per 100 kilometers (34 mpg) this year to no more than 5 liters/100 km (47 mpg) by 2020, Bloomberg reports.

Chinese carmakers are developing hybrid and electric vehicles to meet government-mandated fuel economy improvements. China has made the development of EVs a strategic initiative as part of a broader push to lead in the automotive technology, curb pollution and cut dependence on imported oil.

The government said last month it will boost subsidies to speed up the building of recharging stations.

“China continues to prioritize and push battery EVs,” said Steve Man, an autos analyst with Bloomberg Intelligence in Hong Kong. “Yet, hybrid electric cars are probably the best option” to get to the 2020 fuel economy standards, he said.

Geely, which has been developing vehicles with Volvo Cars, also said it aims to make “substantial progress” on fuel cell vehicles by 2020, without providing details. The company started sales of its first electric car on Wednesday, with a maximum range of 330 kilometers (205 miles) on a single charge.

The company said it plans to offer its plug-in hybrid models at prices equivalent to conventional gasoline-powered vehicles.

Iran is a very important market for Geely, as it considers the country along with its local partnership deals important drivers for growth in the Middle East and North Africa region.