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China: In China, Power in Nascent Electric Car Industry


Charging an electric car at the China Southern Power Grid center in Guangzhou, China.

GUANGZHOU, China — Three years ago, as part of its green-energy policy, the Chinese government set an ambitious goal: by the end of 2011, the nation would be able to produce at least 500,000 hybrid or all-electric cars and buses a year.

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Nytcredit: Forbes Conrad for The New York Times

Watching a battery replacement.

With only about a week to go, it is clear China will fall far short of that target. Despite dozens of electric-vehicle demonstration projects around the country, analysts put China’s actual annual production capacity at only several thousand hybrid and all-electric cars and buses.

“It’s pretty trivial at this stage — they hardly sell any,” said Lin Huaibin, the manager of China vehicle sales forecasts at IHS Automotive, a global consulting firm.

Obstacles include continued technological hurdles, disputes over technology transfers by multinational automakers, and a broad wariness by the Chinese public regarding alternative-technology cars.
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