For anyone (such as Bob Lutz) who thinks that making partnership alliances with Chinese companies is bad for America, it’s probably a good idea to let that idea go. Lutz, along with a Florida Congressman and two U.S. senators, have questioned whether battery-maker A123 Systems should receive the rest of its government grant in light of a deal with a Chinese firm to invest in the faltering company. Wanxiang Group may very well invest up to $450 in A123 Systems and take an 80% ownership stake in the battery maker. Expecting transparency and accountability to those receiving federal loans and grants makes much sense, but criticizing involvement with the Chinese government or companies is a lost cause – just ask General Motors, Ford, Volvo, and other major automakers with ownership stakes in Chinese companies, or vice versa.
Investment by Chinese firms in companies like A123 Systems and Protean Electric, and electric car product lineups being rolled out by companies like BYD, have much to do with Chinese government policies pushing for green vehicles and technologies and renewable energy sources. Sales of electric vehicles haven’t gone very far yet in China – taxi fleets and other niches are taking them on. Consumers are only gaining limited interest in the government incentives offered, and in taking on an EV for possibly their very first car ever.
In this issue, check out the video interview with Curtis Martin, Program Coordinator for Antelope Valley Clean Cities Coalition, on the weekly Clean Cities web-based radio show on advanced vehicle technology and alternative fuels. And read the article right below the videos on the “Clean Across America & Back 2012 CNG Road Trip” that Martin is part of making happen.