Auto leaders split over nuke plans

Updated: 2011-04-23 11:49

By Wang Chao (China Daily)

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During the 2011 Shanghai auto show this week, auto leaders from across the world debated on whether governments should regulate the EV industry, especially the major power source of most future EVs — the nuclear energy.

Their concerns came after many countries have put their nuclear plans on hold following the Japan nuclear crisis.

"Everybody is talking about EVs, but where to get the electricity is actually the key issue," said Patrick Blain, president of International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers (OICA), from France. "If we still get most of our electricity from the coal. We don’t reduce a lot of CO2 emissions in a real way, even if we drive EVs."

Blain admitted that the nuclear energy is "clean", while it can also be "super dirty" when it is out of control.

"France already has 75 percent electricity coming from nuclear energy. We have no intention to increase this rate, but we have to consider how to manage the existing ones to serve EVs."

Although German Chancellor Angela Merkel said future nuclear projects will be closely scrutinized, Klaus Brauning, managing director of German Association of the Automotive Industry, said the government should not interfere with the market too much.

"In the future, market will make its optimal choice spontaneously, so the government should stay away from the market; the more it regulates the industry, the later the EV era will come."

"We have to be open to new technologies, since nobody knows what company, be it big or small, will come up with a technology that overcome our environmental problems," he added.


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