Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Corporation (BAIC), has shown off its first self developed electric car, joining other Chinese rivals expecting a demand for clean energy cars.

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BAIC is a partner of Daimler and was an unsuccessful bidder for General Motors's Opel brand. The electric vehicle known as BE701 is able to travel a distance of 200km when fully charged with a maximum speed is 160km/h.

There is no timetable when mass production of the BE701 will begin, but details of a clean energy vehicle development and manufacturing factory has been set up and will cost 2.28 billion yuan (approx. AUD$334 million). Funding comes from the government as well as "other sources".

The factory will be based in Beijing and will be set up to manufacture 50,000 electric cars and 100,000 hybrid models. By 2015 BAIC aim to have annual sales of 15 billion yuan which will account for between five and ten per cent of their total sales.

Other Chinese manufacturers like Chery Automobile and BYD are also investing in the green car. Chery revealed its first electric vehicle in Febuary called the S19, it is able to travel up to 150km when completely charged and has a top speed of 120km/h.

BYD Auto has revealed its plug-in hybrid car known as F3DM, they also have the e6 which is an electric crossover with hopes to send to the USA and has a range of 400km per charge.

Beijing has plans to subsidise the purchase of clean vehicles for public transport in 13 cities to assist the industry with the development of green technology. This will help promote electric vehicles to the public transport operators, taxi and postal services.

The subsidies are based on the difference in price between electric vehicles and regular fuel burning vehicles, with subsidies up to 600,000 yuan on a fuel cell powered large commercial bus.

by Adam Marshall