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martes, 3 de noviembre de 2009

Nov. 3 (Bloomberg) -- China National Offshore Oil Corp. may build a network of battery-changing stations for electric cars in China

Cnooc Group is considering the plan after the company invested 5 billion yuan ($732 million) in July for a stake in closely held Tianjin Lishen Battery Joint-Stock Co., a mainland battery maker for electric vehicles, Shan Lianwen, director of corporate strategy at China’s third-largest oil producer, said in an interview today.

“It’s just an idea at the moment. We have not carried out a feasibility study,” he said. If oil goes over $80 a barrel for “a long period,” discouraging the use of gasoline, the idea could prove feasible, Shan said. Benchmark oil in New York has risen 76 percent this year to more than $78 a barrel.

China has supported automakers’ investments in alternative- energy vehicles to curb oil imports, reduce pollution and to help the local industry challenge General Motors Co. and Toyota Motor Corp. overseas. Chery Automobile Co., China’s largest maker of own-brand cars, will start selling its first plug-in electric model around June next year.

“Electric cars are unlikely to prove popular for at least five years in China,” said Vivien Chan, a transport analyst at SinoPac Securities Asia Ltd. in Hong Kong. “There are questions marks over whether the technology is mature and if the infrastructure needed is in place. The petrol engine will rule for sometime to come,” she said.

Plug-in Cars

Chery expects to sell about 30,000 S18s electric models within three or four years, Fang Yunzhou, vice president of Chery’s new energy vehicle operations, said in an interview on Sept. 3.

The S18 can travel as far as 150 kilometers (93 miles) using just its batteries. Plug-in cars can be recharged from standard household powerpoints.

BYD Co., the Chinese automaker backed by billionaire Warren Buffett, started selling the world’s first mass-produced plug-in hybrid in December.

China is on track to surpass the U.S. as the world’s biggest automobile market by year end, according to official car sales data. China’s monthly passenger car sales passed one million vehicles for the first time in September.

GM, the largest overseas automaker in China, more than doubled September sales from a year earlier to 181,148 vehicles. In the first nine months, it sold 1.29 million, surpassing the tally for the whole of 2008.

Cnooc Group, the parent of Hong Kong-listed Cnooc Ltd., wants to expand its major businesses to include renewable energy and infrastructure construction within 10 years, President Fu Chengyu said in April 2007.

The company said December last year it had agreed to invest 15 billion yuan in renewable energy products and to expand sales in the northern city of Tianjin.


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