BEIJING, July 9 (UPI) -- China plans to sell 5 million energy-efficient and alternative-energy vehicles by 2020, the country's powerful State Council or Cabinet announced.
Pressured to reduce China's dependence on foreign oil and cut emissions, the council said the target is to produce 500,000 of such green vehicles by 2015 and 5 million by 2020, China Daily reported Tuesday.
The plan, which is also aimed at restructuring the automobile sector to make it more environmentally sustainable, calls for heavy government investment in core technology and generous government subsidies to both the users and producers of the new generation of the green vehicles and make them globally competitive, the report said. China claims to be the world's largest auto market.
In the near term, the plan would focus on developing pure electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, and require wider usage of hybrid vehicles and energy-saving combustion engine automobiles.
The report said the effort could reduce average fuel consumption in passenger vehicles to 6.9 liters (1.8 U.S. gallons) per 100 kilometers (62 miles) by 2015.
An auto analyst in Beijing said consumers would have the final say on the new vehicles, adding: "Market acceptance is vital," the report said.
"The government's focus on pure-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles is strategic and quite reasonable to make the nation's auto industry competitive in the global market, as Western countries have dominated the traditional auto technologies ... ," another analyst said, adding China's competitive edge in batteries, electric motors, lithium and rare-earth resources can help the nation achieve its target of being a leader in the electric-vehicle industry.