General Motors To Build Hybrid Cars In China By 2008

Production will be located at Shanghai plant.

General Motors announced Nov. 6 a plan to build environmentally-friendly hybrid cars in China by 2008. The hybrid will go into mass production at the Shanghai GM plant, a joint venture with Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp. "The GM Hybrid System is flexible and cost effective and is ideal for high volume global applications, which include its introduction in China in 2008," said Martin Murray, head of GM's Asia Pacific hybrid engineering.

"We believe fuel cell vehicles offer the best long-term solution for meeting the world's growing demand for automobiles in an economically and environmentally sustainable manner," GM's CEO Rick Wagoner said. "From a China and Asia Pacific perspective, development of world-class fuel cells and the associated infrastructure are key initiatives that need the support of industry, government and the academic community."

Hydrogen-powered cars are seen as vehicles of the future as they do not use gasoline and their only by-product is water vapor. However the production and storage of hydrogen and the building of a hydrogen infrastructure of refueling stations could take decades and billions of dollars to build. In the meantime, the hybrid vehicle, a car that uses both a combustion engine and electric motors for propulsion, is seen as an interim solution to the full development of a clean car.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006

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