GWM says it isn’t opposed to the Australian Government’s proposed New Vehicle Efficiency Standard (NVES), as it rolls out more hybrids and electric vehicles in local showrooms.

    “We welcome any standards which allow more fuel-efficient choices to be available to Australian customers. That’s the bottom line,” said Steve Maciver, head of marketing and communications for GWM Australia.

    “The devil, of course, is in the details. We don’t know exactly what the final judgment of the announcement is going to be, but we do believe that GWM is well-placed with the range of vehicles that we’ve got today.

    “Obviously, when we understand final outcome of the legislation, we will study that more closely, and if that means we have to look at other alternatives and other technologies such as plug-in hybrid, that’s something we can look at.

    “But I can confidently say… the level of investment into powertrain technology is impressive, and that gives us the confidence to stand here today and say we’re going to be relatively well-equipped to offer the right powertrain choices once we understand exactly what the new vehicle emissions standards look like.”

    Under the NVES, carmakers will be given targets for average CO2 emissions per kilometre across their vehicle fleets. Over time this CO2 target will move, forcing companies to provide vehicles with lower or zero emissions to meet stricter targets.

    If companies meet or beat their CO2 target, they’ll receive credits. If they miss it, they can either trade credits with a different supplier, make it up over a set period, or pay a penalty.

    Mr Maciver pointed to the possibility of plug-in hybrids coming here to help it meet targets.

    The company already offers regular hybrid versions of its Haval Jolion, Haval H6 and Tank 300 SUVs, with the larger Tank 500 coming here exclusively – at least at first – with hybrid power.

    GWM is also expected to bring the Cannon Alpha ute here with hybrid power, while it already has one electric vehicle (EV) in the small Ora hatchback with another EV expected to follow.

    But while the company offers plug-in hybrids in markets like China and Thailand, none have arrived here yet.

    “We have, as a company, made a very, very strong play in introducing hybrids and EVs into this market. That will continue, regardless of new vehicle emissions standards,” said Mr Maciver.

    “There is a plug-in hybrid Tank 500 available in other markets. Again, it’s something we can look at, it’s not necessarily available for us to take right here today if we want, but it is under consideration longer term.

    “We have got a number of vehicles that are available in overseas markets, that may become available for the Australia and New Zealand region moving forward.

    “Those cars are for example H6 GT plug-in hybrid, Tank 500 plug-in hybrid.

    “Now they may not necessarily be right for our market and our customers today, we do know the uptake of plug-in hybrids in our market has been slow for a number of reasons, however more widely with the new vehicle emissions standards, we also have to sit down as a company, we have to work out the implications of that and what it means.”

    The company has revealed a new plug-in hybrid system in China called Hi4, which it’s busily rolling out across its Tank range of SUVs. GWM says this system can offer electric range of over 100km.

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    William Stopford

    William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel, briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

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