Chinese bus and truck manufacturer announces $2.6billion plan for 200,000 ‘new energy’ vehicles by 2025, including electric, hydrogen fuel cell and hybrid engines

  • Government-backed Chinese businesses are investing in alternate energy
  • Beiqi Foton Motor, a truck and bus manufacture, will invest $2.6billion
  • The company wants 200,000 ‘new energy’ trucks and buses on the road in 2025

The Chinese truck manufacturer Beiqi Foton Motor has announced an ambitious new plan to manufacture 200,000 ‘new energy’ commercial vehicles by 2025.

The company’s chairman, Zhang Xiyong, said the company would develop a range of alternate energy technologies as part of the initiative, including electric, hydrogen fuel cells, and hybrid gas-electric.

The project will initially be limited to commercial vehicles like delivery trucks, vans, buses and other large vehicles.

Beiqi Foton is expected to invest as much as $2.6billion, or 18billion yuan, for the project, according to a report from Reuters.  

Beiqi Foton Motors, a Chinese truck and bus manufacturer, announced a new $2.6billionplan to develop commercial vehicles powered by electric motors, hydrogen fuel cells, or hybrid electric-gasoline systems

Beiqi Foton Motors, a Chinese truck and bus manufacturer, announced a new $2.6billionplan to develop commercial vehicles powered by electric motors, hydrogen fuel cells, or hybrid electric-gasoline systems

Earlier this year, Foton announced an agreement with Toyota and Beijing Yihuatong Technology to develop a 100 kilowatt hydrogen fuel cell engine that the company said would be able to power a range of heavy vehicles, including buses and trucks. 

Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles generate power by combining hydrogen with oxygen in stacked fuel cells, with the only byproduct being water.

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Hydrogen fuel cell cars can be refueled much more quickly than electric cars and can travel farther between fill-up, but fueling stations can be expensive to build, costing $2 million or more.

Earlier this year, the French transportation company Alstom announced a prototype for a train powered by hydrogen fuel cells, capable of traveling 620 miles on a single tank of hydrogen.

By 2025, the Chinese government could demand as much as seven percent of all new vehicles manufactured in the country be electric, or use some alternate energy source

By 2025, the Chinese government could demand as much as seven percent of all new vehicles manufactured in the country be electric, or use some alternate energy source 

The Chinese government has made aggressive moves toward transitioning the country away from fossil fuels over the past few years. 

In 2018, the government announced a policy requiring all car manufacturers in the country to produce a certain percentage of their yearly output as electric vehicles.

Some have predicted this could rise as high as seven percent by 2025.

Toyota recently announced a partnership with Guangzhou Automobile Industry Group to develop hydrogen fuel cell engines for standard consumer cars, part of its attempt to expand its business in China. 

HOW DO HYDROGEN FUEL CELLS WORK? 

Hydrogen fuel cells create electricity to power a battery and motor by mixing hydrogen and oxygen in specially treated plates, which are combined to form the fuel cell stack.

Fuel cell stacks and batteries have allowed engineers to significantly shrink these components to even fit neatly inside a family car, although they are also commonly used to fuel buses and other larger vehicles.

Oxygen is collected from the air through intakes, usually in the grille, and hydrogen is stored in aluminium-lined fuel tanks, which automatically seal in an accident to prevent leaks.

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These ingredients are fused, releasing usable electricity and water as byproducts and making the technology one of the quietest and most environmentally friendly available.

Reducing the amount of platinum used in the stack has made fuel cells less expensive, but the use of the rare metal has restricted the spread of their use.

Recent research has suggested hydrogen fuel cell cars could one day challenge electric cars in the race for pollution-free roads, however – but only if more stations are built to fuel them.

Fuel cell cars can be refueled as quickly as gasoline-powered cars and can also travel further between fill-ups.

Fueling stations cost up to $2million to build, so companies have been reluctant to build them unless more fuel cell cars are on the road.

The U.S. Department of Energy lists just 34 public hydrogen fueling stations in the country; all but three are in California. 

According to Information Trends, there were 6,475 FCVs worldwide at the end of 2017.

More than half were registered in California, which puts the U.S. (53 per cent) at the forefront for FCV adoption.

Japan takes second place with 38 percent, while Europe is at nine per cent.

 



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