As US automakers continue their late push into the market for hybrids and electric cars, they may soon have a major new competitor to worry about: China. Beijing, which barely registers in the auto world today, has begun a major investment push and plans to join the world leaders in making electric vehicles in three years and pass them after that, the New York Times reports.
“China is well positioned to lead in this,” said a GM official. Car-charging stations are going up in major cities, and the government is ramping up subsidies for buyers. China produced only 2,100 hybrid or all-electric vehicles last year but intends to raise that to 500,000 by the end of 2011, roughly double that of North America. China would still trail the combined output of Japan and South Korea at that point, but it plans to continue increasing production.