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China and US form green car partnership

The proposed bailout of the US auto industry may have been doomed to failure, but that won't stop the United States pushing ahead with its green programs - even if it involves outside help. An agreement has been signed between China's Ministry of Science and Technology and the US Department of Energy that will see the two countries collaborate on battery performance and testing as well as evaluating standards, methods and codes. The partnership comes at a time when Barack Obama heralds green cars as crucial to his energy strategy and has even gone as far as to call for an "end to the age of oil in our time". China too has matched that ambition with Wan Gang, minister of science and technology in the country, outlining plans to put 60,000 new energy vehicles into trial runs for 11 cities by 2012 for public services, transportation and the postal services. At the moment, China imports nearly half the oil required in the country and if the current growth rate continues this would likely double by 2030. It is hoped that by introducing electric cars, this dependency on oil will be slashed by around a quarter. The collaboration between the USA and China is expected to boost BYD Autos, which has been aggressively developing electric cars and has already looked for bases in the US. It is expected to sell hybrid cars in the USA by 2010. Chinese battery companies have also infiltrated the US by providing lithium ion battery packages for testing at the national laboratory near Chicago.

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Paul Lucas

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