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Old 11-04-2007, 02:00 PM
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Arrow Here Comes GM's Two-Mode Hybrid SUVs

GM Plans Shanghai Research Center To Study Alternative Fuels

General Motors announced Monday it would set up a $250m alternative fuel research center in Shanghai.

"We believe China has the potential to become a leader in the adoption of alternative propulsion systems," General Motors Corp. CEO Rick Waggoner said.

He said construction of the first phase of "The General Motors Center for Advanced Science and Research" would be finished late next year.

Waggoner also announced that GM would make a $5mgrant to set up "The China Automotive Energy Research Center" along with Tsinghua University and Shanghai Automotive Industries Corp., or SAIC. It will be based at the Beijing campus of the university.

Waggoner made the announcements along with Chen Hong, the president of SAIC, and He Jianqin, Tsinghua's executive vice president. SAIC is a local partner of General motors and Volkswagen.

He said GM picked China for the research center because of the country's fast-growing vehicle market and the government's push to develop alternative energy sources.

"We see a lot of (government) interest in working with auto manufacturers to bring those to market as quickly as possible," Waggoner said.

China, whose major cities are shrouded in pollution, has been trying to promote cleaner and more efficient fuels as part of efforts to cut pollution and rising dependence on imported oil.

Beijing has made cleaner cars a policy priority, targeting the field as one of 11 priority areas in a 15-year technology development plan issued in February 2006. It promised grants and tax breaks to support industry efforts.

General Motors announced previously that it plans to start selling a gas-electric hybrid vehicle in China next year.

Waggoner said future development of GM's alternative vehicle product line would be decided by consumer demand and government policy.

China already is the world's No. 2 oil consumer after the United States and saw imports soar by 14.5% in 2006, driven by economic growth that has topped 10% for the past four years.

Waggoner said that worldwide General Motors expected to sell just over 9 million vehicles this year, 1 million which would use biofuel.

Most of those will be sold in the United States, Brazil and Sweden.

By 2012 as many as half of the vehicles made in the Untied States could be powered by biofuels, Waggoner said.

He said sales in China this year for all GM brands sales will exceed 1 million units, but he did not give a specific figure. Last year, sales rose 32% from the 2005 level to 876 747 units.

General Motors has estimated market share in China of 11.8%.

A boom in car sales has added to smog in China's major cities, which are among the world's dirtiest. Vehicle sales jumped 25.1% last year to 7.2 million units, including 3.8 million passenger cars.

GM already has a joint-venture technology center with SAIC in Shanghai and operates three experimental fuel cell buses in the city.

Source: [url=http://www.evworld.com/view.cfm?page=news&newsid=16537]EV World[/url]
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