BMW I3 electric testing by the LAPD
❝For global automakers, China is becoming the new California.
The U.S. state grabbed the lead a few years ago in establishing fuel-efficiency standards to clean up urban smog. Now, as China struggles with its air-pollution crisis, Beijing increasingly influences the models and technology Detroit, Europe and Japan sell around the world.
❝In response to government rules and incentives that have spurred electric-car sales in China, automakers are beefing up their global electric-vehicle and plug-in offerings. General Motors Co. plans to make a plug-in hybrid version of every Cadillac model. Ford Motor Co. has budgeted $4.5 billion to develop 13 new EVs and plug-in hybrids by 2020, and China is a big reason for both automakers. Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz is selling five plug-ins in China, two of which also sell in the U.S. Similarly, BMW AG is engineering plug-in hybrids it sells worldwide to meet China’s electric-drive mandates.
❝“Originally we started with California rules, so the starting point for us was clearly the U.S.,” said Klaus Froehlich, BMW’s global head of product development. “Now, China is a key market. It is very important and the regulations are quite difficult.”
❝Decisions made in Beijing already are affecting cars people drive in Dallas and Los Angeles. That’s because automakers tend to design new models to sell in multiple regions — and China is the world’s largest auto market…
Even gasoline engines are getting a global tweak to meet Chinese fuel-efficiency standards: Cadillac specifically designed the most powerful engine in its CT6 sedan, a twin-turbo 3 liter, to avoid stiff Chinese taxes on any engine over 3 liters…
While China wants to boost sales and become a key destination for global automakers to sell new models, it also wants cleaner air. So it now requires that agency- and government-owned companies’ fleets consist of at least 30 percent plug-in hybrids or electric cars. If they don’t comply, they risk losing important subsidies for utilities such as electricity and water. The subsidies can be the difference between profit and loss, said Michael Dunne, president of Dunne Automotive…
❝The country already sells far more electric-car models than the U.S., with 30 available now. That will rise to 80 by 2020, though many of them will come from China’s small domestic producers, according to IHS Automotive. The U.S. has just a handful of models now; 44 will be available in 2020…
“The Chinese government will do whatever is possible to make people feel comfortable with EVs,” Dunne said.
The American government will do whatever is possible to make people feel comfortable with lots of guns.
Aside from my cynicism, the article makes me pleased that an alternative to the short-range stupidity of the American market exists. Like anyone concerned with environmental issues I get to stand back in awe of the blank brains of my fellow citizens who look ahead at a couple years of lowered gasoline prices and rush right out to buy the biggest SUV on the block.
No thought about environmental impact. No consideration for what cars add to the sum of a deteriorating climate. Not even a trace of reflection about what it will cost to feed and maintain the beast when oil prices get back up to the “standards” fossil fuel barons from Saudi Arabia to Texas require to support their own addictions.
Previous fallbacks existed in a vacuum. Now the world’s economics are shifting and Uncle Sugar no longer is the only game in town. Manufacturers who want to be profitable on a global scale will have to design products for a global market.