Other manufacturers such as Nissan Motor Co., maker of the electric Leaf, and General Motors Co. have chosen to pay the higher taxes required to import electric and hybrid vehicles rather than disclose expensive know-how to Chinese partners that might become rivals.
GM is taking orders for its all-electric Volt in China but expects limited sales due to a relatively high price of 498,000 yuan ($79,000).
“It’s expensive in China at the moment because of import duties, and we don’t qualify for incentives,” said Kevin Wale, president of GM China. “But we still think it’s important that we demonstrate its capabilities here in China.”
Chinese producers have unveiled a series of display models of electric and hybrid cars, some sprouting tiny solar panels or wind turbines for recharging, though most say they are not ready for mass-market sales.
LMC Automotive’s Zeng said that aside from BYD, which has spent heavily on development, most have done only the minimum required to qualify for research grants.
“I think it’s more to create a PR bubble or fight for government subsidies,” he said.
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