Automakers fear that China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology may be trying to strong-arm them into sharing critical electric vehicle technologies, according to stories in The Wall Street Journal.
“The plan is ‘tantamount to China strong-arming foreign automakers to give up battery, electric motor and control technology in exchange for market access,’” said one auto executive quoted in the newspaper.
China’s requirements for foreign automakers are part of a plan by the country to turn it into the world leader in developing and producing battery-powered cars and hybrids. China hopes to have 500,000 battery-powered and plug-in hybrids on the road by 2015 and five million by 2020.
“The plan calls for investment of as much as 100 billion yuan, or about $15 billion, in areas such as charging stations and other infrastructure,” the newspaper reported.
Reaction to the news, which is said to have “spooked” the automotive community, grew more heated earlier this week when Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn said that Nissan is in discussions with Dongfeng Motor Group about transferring lithium-ion battery know-how to the Chinese automaker as part of a joint sales venture.
Ghosn reportedly remarked that for Nissan, “There’s no limit to the technology we bring to China.”