After decades of R&D — but little commercial progress — the world seems to be on the cusp of a green car revolution.
And the market that's moving the fastest just might be China.
Yang Jian, managing editor of Automotive News China, wrote a good column on the topic last week, titled “China Inc. moves full speed to embrace EVs.”
“Even for a person like me who covers China's auto industry on a daily basis, I can't help feeling amazed at how fast the government is moving to encourage development of ‘green' cars,” Yang wrote.
Now China has created pilot subsidy programs for plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles. The city of Shenzhen — a leading auto center — has kicked in its own subsidies. And China's central government has directed China's two electric utilities, three largest oil companies and major electrical equipment makers to build EV charging stations across the country.
China's advantage appears to be central government control, which seems to be fully supporting investment in EVs.
But keep this in mind: U.S. companies have some obvious competitive advantages that should help them stay ahead of Chinese automakers and suppliers.
Loepp is managing editor of Plastics News and author of “The Plastics Blog.”