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BMW sees China as No. 1 EV market by 2019

May 28, 2014 14:29 CET

SHANGHAI (Bloomberg) — BMW Group predicts China will become the world’s largest market for electric vehicles as more charging stations are built there and the government promotes cleaner cars to cut pollution.

China will reach that target in at most five years, said Karsten Engel, BMW’s China head, at an event in Shanghai marking the automaker’s collaboration with the city’s municipal power company.

As part of the partnership, the State Grid will build public charging points at the former World Expo site, one of 46 such areas the city is targeting by the end of the year where EV owners can power their cars, according to Fan Ye, general manager of electric vehicles at State Grid Shanghai.

“We expect that the Chinese car market for electromobility will become the largest markets for those cars in a few years,” Engel told reporters after a ceremony in Shanghai Wednesday. “Because you have supply now, there are cars coming on the market. We are coming with ours, others are coming as well.”

BMW’s second vehicle from its i subbrand, the i8 plug-in hybrid, will go on sales in Europe next month, joining the i3 battery-powered compact that went on sale last November.

The automaker joins Volkswagen Group among automakers betting on vehicles with alternative powertrains to spark future growth in the world’s largest auto market.

VW plans to unveil more than 15 electrified models in China by 2018. Daimler is building electric vehicles with Chinese automaker BYD Co., while Tesla Motors delivered its first Model S cars in the country last month.
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