Patents crucial in charge toward new-energy cars

Updated: 2013-01-23 14:14

By Hao Nan (China Daily)

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With a worldwide push for sustainable, clean transportation, patents are vital to survival in the global new-energy vehicle industry, China Intellectual Property News reported.

China had filed more than 2,000 patent applications - 8 percent of the world total - for new-energy cars by the end of last year to share the third place with Germany and South Korea, according to the statistics from Thomson Reuters.

Patents crucial in charge toward new-energy cars

Workers on the assembly line at BAIC Motor Electric Vehicle Co in Beijing. China had filed more than 2,000 patent applications related to new-energy cars by the end of last year. [Photo / China Daily]


Japan ranks the first with nearly 9,000 patents, followed by the United States with 4,000, accounting for a respective 60 percent and 22 percent of the world total.

Since China lags behind in patents, it is trying to narrow the gap in other aspects of the industry, said Zhao Yuhai, a senior official from the Ministry of Science and Technology.

"With internationally advanced expertise and research technologies for new-energy vehicles, China has formulated 62 national and industry standards and established testing systems and a complete commercial operation model," Zhao noted.

He said the ministry has supported a number of large development projects beginning with the 10th Five-Year Plan (2001-05) period. With investment totaling 2 billion yuan ($321 million) to date, the initiatives have engaged more than 14,600 professionals in technical research.

"The national strategy to develop new-energy cars has gained ground on many fronts such as in policies and technologies," said Wang Tianwei, an official at Jiading Auto City in Shanghai.

The State Council placed new-energy vehicles as one of the seven national strategic emerging industries for the past six years, especially in development of pure electric and hybrid cars.

The country now has 55 research centers and 87 commercialization bases in the emerging industry.

Among the breakthroughs is a home-developed hybrid bus that cuts fuel consumption by half to less than 24 liters per 100 kilometers, using a battery that can run for more than 3,000 consecutive hours, according to the ministry.

About 27,400 new-energy cars were on the road in 25 pilot cities last year, with the number projected to reach nearly 40,000 by the end of March.

Buyers enjoy steep discounts as various levels of government provide automakers and buyers with subsidies and other preferential policies.

But "battery performance remains the greatest threat to the credibility of electric vehicles in motorists' eyes", said Wang. "Chinese companies need to make more effort in improving battery technology."

Another widespread concern is the lack of recharging stations, he said.

"It may be the main reason consumers hesitate to buy an electric car," he added.

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