China: World’s Fastest Electric Car Unveiled
The world’s fastest electric car – which has a top speed of 155mph and manages 0-62mph in just 3.7 seconds – has been unveiled at the Shanghai Motor Show.
The SP:01 is manufactured in America by a company called Detroit Electric, which claims to have produced the first ever electric car in Detroit back in 1907.
Choosing China over Europe and the US to reveal its state-of-the-art machine is significant. The Chinese government has placed itself behind a major push to invest in electric cars across the nation.
Albert Lam, the chief executive of Detroit Electric, told Sky News: “I think China has the right policy, right incentive, and the right drive from the government and China really does need some solution with their air pollution.
“There will be a lot of demand for this type of vehicle as well as future vehicles we are going to launch.”
The government’s pledge to put five million electric vehicles on China’s roads by 2020 has prompted a scramble by car manufactures in all sectors of the market.
From Porsche to VW and Renault, manufacturers are now choosing China to unveil their latest electric or hybrid models.
The Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid has been a focus for photographers and prospective customers in Shanghai all week. It has a dual-electric petrol engine; the first Porsche of its kind.
In another exhibition hall, the company formally known as Rover showed off its electric offering. Rover is now owned by Chinese Auto giant SAIC.
In theory, China is the perfect market for the electric car to thrive. Sixteen of the 20 most polluted cities in the world are said to be in China.
This year, the air in the Chinese capital reached 40 times the safe limit. The sheer number of cars and the poor quality of fuel are significant contributors to what has become known as ‘airmageddon’.
The global electric car revolution has, thus far, failed to materialise. A combination of ‘range-anxiety’, high prices and unappealing models has discouraged the public to buy.
Unimpressed by poor sales, governments have been reluctant to invest in infrastruture. A vicious cycle has formed which has been hard to break. But China could hold the key.
In a suburb of the Chinese capital we found evidence of the government pledge to support the development of electric cars for the mass market.
The Beijing Electric Car Company is a part-state owned car manufacturer. Their site is vast; a massive factory surrounded by car parks full of new cars, all electric.
The E150-EV is the first mass-produced Chinese-made electric car. None have been sold yet because the details of the rebate customers will get for buying one have not yet been established.
“At this stage, we’re still in a test period,” Si Hai, a director at the factory, told Sky News.
“The Beijing government has been positively encouraging the industry including research. The good trend of the development is thanks to efforts by the government.”
There are about 1,000 electric cars running on the Beijing roads but they are public service vehicles.
Several major Chinese cities operate a “licence plate lottery” in which prospective new drivers must apply for a number-plate. Only a tiny proportion of those who apply every month are successful.
Under new plans, drivers applying for a number-plate for an electric car will not have to go through the lottery. They will be issued with a plate immediately.
“The development of electric cars will not happen without the support of the government. I think the country has been working on the research and implementing the relevant policies. I think in the near future, our goal of getting electric cars to every household can be achieved,” Mr Si said.
If he is right, then simple economies of scale should push prices down and encourage further research and development. The global electric car revolution could finally get the kick-start it has waited for.
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