SHANGHAI, Jul. 8 (SMM) – The Shandong Automobile Manufacturers’ Association surveyed its 22 members, finding that their output of low-speed electric vehicles has jumped from 18,221 in 2010, to 68,203, then 86,709 in 2011 and 2012, respectively. Output through the first five months in 2013 was 50,214 vehicles, 30,000 of which have been exported.
The market potential of low-speed electric vehicles is attracting a torrent of investment.
Shifeng Group and Fulu Motor have each invested RMB 1 billion in their 200,000 vehicle/yr and 100,000 vehicle/yr low-speed electric vehicle projects, respectively. Dezhou Baoya New Energy spent RMB 1.1 billion on its Phase I 100,000 vehicle/yr project, while Byvin Corporation injected RMB 1.5 billion in its 150,000 vehicle/yr project. Collectively, new investment in the low-speed electric vehicle segment passed RMB 15 billion as of May 2013.
Despite its apparent potential, this segment remains hostage to the national policy environment. Low-speed electric vehicle are not currently eligible to be licensed by the Ministry of Public Security since the vehicle class is not listed in the Ministry of Industry & Information Technology’s (MIIT) Announcement of Vehicle Manufacturers & Products. This is a major hurdle confronting manufacturers of these vehicles.
A trial Entrance Requirements for Low-Speed Electric Vehicle Manufacturers & Products and a pilot program were developed by the MIIT back in 2011 and circulated for input from other ministries, but the program has remain stalled due to a lack of consensus.
The MIIT and China Automotive Technology & Research Center completed a research project on low-speed electric vehicles late last year, including product development and testing, cost analysis, and crash tests.
The research project was undertaken to further discuss with other ministries over the pilot program, but progress remains uncertain, according to a producer of low-speed vehicles close to the process.