According to the New York Times, it seems the Chinese want to have their cake and eat it too when it comes to electric cars. With only a minuscule budget for R&D, the Chinese want to coerce their way into access to expensively developed technologies for electric cars by making that access a precondition for foreign manufacturers who want to sell electric vehicles in China, if they want the same subsidies that Chinese-made electric cars enjoy. (This happens to be a violation of the World Trade Organization’s rules, and China is a WTO member)
Here’s how I think that would play out:
- At least some foreign automakers, wanting access to the vast and rapidly growing Chinese market, make the devil’s bargain and share their technology secrets
- China begins a crash program in its state-owned car companies to bring cars to market using this technology
- After one to three years, the foreign automakers find themselves closed out—and sitting on a big useless pile of expensive infrastructure—as the Chinese rush cheap and shoddily built EVs to market using American, European, or Japanese technology
General Motors is actively resisting and protesting; Nissan doesn’t even want to go into the market under these conditions; yet Ford apparently plans to cave.
This is one time I find myself agreeing with General Motors. This is a bad idea!