One of China’s biggest automakers, GAC Motor, has announced the construction at a giant $6.5bn industrial park to develop and produce electric and autonomous vehicles.

The move is in line with the Chinese government’s commitment to maintaining leadership in the sector.
Electric vehicle
China’s electric vehicle mandate requires automakers’ EV sales to represent at least 8 per cent  of their total sales in 2018, 10 per cent in 2019 and 12 per cent in 2020.

The park will be located in Guangzhou’s Panyu district on five square kilometres.

Electrek online quotes Yu Jun, General Manager of GAC Motor, as saying, “The planning and construction of this industrial park is a concrete step to implement the Chinese government’s green development goals for Guangdong and the national ‘Made in China 2025′ strategy. The move will help promote the development of the automobile industry and drive economic growth.”

“In the coming five years, we will push out at least seven new electric vehicle models and cover three product series including pure electric, range-extending and hybrid. Our goal is for GAC Motor to take the lead in the EV business and achieve sales of 20,000 electric vehicles by 2020.”

They also say that they have signed strategic partnership agreements with “the world’s top 10 auto suppliers”, including Aisin Seiki, Michelin, Continental and Faurecia during Auto Shanghai.

China is already the world’s leading electric vehicle market by a wide margin. In 2016, China EV sales reached 507,000 units, more than double the level in Europe (221,000) and almost four times the US number (157,000). China EV sales are expected to climb to 700,000 this year, according to the China Association of Automotive Manufacturers.

Beijing is motivated by reducing dependency on foreign oil, having been the leading oil importer, thanks to increased appetite for new cars. Air quality is also high on the agenda, with seven of the world’s top ten most polluted cities located in China.

The government is also keen to maintain its leadership in battery and electric vehicle technologies.