SHANGHAI, Feb 19 (Reuters) - China’s Chery Automobile said on Thursday it has rolled out its first self-developed electric car, becoming the second home-grown car maker to tap potential demand for clean energy cars.
The model, known as S18, is capable of going as far as 150 kilometers on electricity when fully charged, with a maximum speed of 120 kilometres per hour, Chery said in a statement.
Chery uses iron-phosphate-based lithium-ion batteries for S18, which can be fully charged in 4 to 6 hours and 80 percent charged in half an hour, it said.
The company did not say when it would start mass production of the model or whether it had secured firm orders.
BYD Auto, subsidiary of rechargeable battery maker BYD Co (1211.HK), launched its plug-in hybrid car F3DM in China late last year.
Henry Li, general manager of BYD Auto’s export trade division, told Reuters in October that the firm has signed up 10 distributors for the plug-in hybrid car in Europe ahead of its targeted entry into that market in 2010.
BYD, in which a unit of U.S. billionaire investor Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc (BRKa.N) has committed to pay $230 million for a 10 percent stake, is scheduled to launch its first all-electric car, the E6, in China in the second half of 2009, Li added.
Beijing unveiled a plan earlier this month to subsidise the purchase of clean-energy vehicles for public transport fleets in 13 cities to help its automobile industry develop green technology. [ID:nSHA23857].
The trial scheme will promote the use of electric, hybrid and fuel-cell vehicles by public transport operators, taxi firms and postal and sanitary services.
Subsidies will be based on the gap in prices between more energy-efficient vehicles and those with traditional engines,, with subsidies running up to 600,000 yuan on a fuel cell powered large commercial bus.
SAIC Motor Corp (600104.SS), China’s biggest auto maker, said in November it would set up a venture with its state-owned parent to invest 2 billion yuan ($293 million) to develop hybrid and electric vehicles. (Reporting by Fang Yan, Editing by Jacqueline Wong)