Special Report

July 28, 2015

Two Engines of New Energy Vehicles

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Written by: Suhail Nasir

The Sixth annual Global Automotive Forum’s brainstorm session was entitled “The Future of New Energy Vehicles (NEV)”, where industry experts discussed the prospects and future promotion of NEVs in China.

Hydrogen Technology has great potential
Yusuke Hasegawa, Managing Officer and Director of Honda R&D Co., Ltd. and Chief Operating Officer of the Advanced Research Division, expressed Honda’s desire to tackle the many challenging environmental problems we face from a variety of different angles. Some of the company’s ideas to approach these issues include improving the efficiency of internal-combustion engines and introducing other alternative energies, such as hybrid electric vehicles, electric vehicles, hydrogen-powered fuel-cell vehicles (FCV). Honda has already been able to implement some of these solutions. In 2012, the company upgraded key hybrid technologies to dramatically reduce the fuel consumption of hybrid electric vehicles without external electric power.

In terms of FCV, Honda has solved technical difficulties and entered the stage of trial production. Honda will soon publicize and promote FCV in the consumer market. “I think hydrogen technology has great potential and it can be applied to NEVs. We have many hydrogen fueling stations, which can diminish the consumption of chemical fuels and facilitate the electrification of transportation vehicles.” Yusuke Hasegawa said.

“Improvement has to be made across the whole industrial chain to promote energy efficiency of vehicles”
Peter Rankl, Vice President of Powertrain for the China/ Korea divisions of Continental Automotive Holding Co., Ltd China, thinks that the most pressing problem Chinese enterprises face is the total energy consumption standard of 5L/100 km in 2020. “This is a challenging target.” He said that in order to promote vehicle energy efficiency measures should be taken across the whole industrial chain. “The first step is to optimize vehicles. For instance, measures should be taken in the optimization of power transmission and the electrification of power assembly.” Mr. Rankl adds that Continental “focuses on transmission system technology, single clutch transmission technology and dual clutch transmission technology, aiming to lower the cost of electric vehicles through technical improvement.”

Continental Automotive Holding Co. Ltd started the electrification of vehicles 10 years ago and now provides components and a platform of electric cars for the whole vehicle market. Next week, the company will release a new generation of electric motors in Germany with a smaller volume and lower energy consumption.

“The economically efficient plug-in hybrid electric vehicles in China have certain clear advantages”
To cope with the strict standards of fuel consumption, Chinese automobile manufacturers are sparing no efforts in promoting the application of new energy technologies. The Chinese government gives its full support as well and provides abundant subsidies, especially for public transportation. Li Gaopeng, Deputy Technical Director of the Department of Technology, Zhengzhou Yutong Bus Co., Ltd. and expert of the New Energy Vehicle (NEV) Technology Expert Team of the Ministry of Science and Technology, explained that the number of energy-saving and new-energy buses amounts to 41,482, which is 7.52% of the total.

As the applications of energy-saving and new energy vehicles continue to grow more diverse, related technologies used by domestic manufacturers are also improving every day. Li Gaopeng assesses that, generally speaking, compared with the economizing gasoline rate of foreign vehicles, Chinese plug-in hybrid electric cars have a clear advantage. However, for buses powered by fuel cells, the durability and reliability of home-made battery systems still need to be improved to reach the advanced world standard. According to the planning, until 2020, China will produce and put into use 1000 fuel-cell vehicles, aimed at achieving a small-scale operation in 2025.

“Subsidy Policies play a key role”
Representing a 4-year-old new-energy firm, Ronald Koning, Vice President of Sales of Shenzhen BYD Daimler New Technologies Co., Ltd., expresses his appreciation of the Chinese government’s policies for electric vehicles: “Many government departments have already issued policies which make electric cars more attractive. Owning an electric car makes it much easier for people to acquire licenses and allowance”. He believes that these policies play a key role in spreading electric vehicles.

Shenzhen BYD Daimler released DENZA, their first electric car, in the fall of 2014. After their first sales in limited areas like Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen, they expanded their business to Nanjing and Hangzhou this April. Their network will cover Guangzhou, Wuhan, Xi’an and Xiamen in the future.

“We believe that we can only change the future by changing the way we live”. We have already helped to solve the pollution brought about by electric vehicles. DANZA is growing with China’s electric vehicle market”, Mr. Koning says. In order to promote NEVs in a better way, DANZA has offered a free trial driving experience in Beijing since June. “People need to have the experience firsthand and share their feelings with each other to improve their knowledge of driving electric cars,” he said.

-Published on pages#36-38, July-2015 edition of MOBILE WORLD Magazine

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