China is taking the lead in the electric vehicle market as there is a real government push to clear the air, Bill Ford, executive chairman at Ford Motor Company, said on Wednesday.
At the 2017 Fortune Global Forum held in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou, Ford said he is bullish on China's new energy vehicle (NEV) market, saying strong government resolve to encourage their use can be successful.
Optimistic on the outlook, the U.S. car maker earlier announced a joint venture with China's Anhui Zotye Automobile to produce and sell electric cars in China, with plans to launch 15 electric car models in the country by 2025.
While the infrastructure for electrification has improved and the cost is coming down, there is still a question mark as to whether retail customers can accept NEVs in big numbers, according to Ford.
He said the joint venture will bring in impressive technology and competitive costs so that retail customers don't get choked out of the market.
Hoping the spread of NEVs can help ease pressure on the environment, the Chinese government has introduced a slew of measures, including offering tax exemptions and subsidies for car purchases, and ordering government organizations to buy more new energy cars.
In the latest move, Chinese banking authorities announced new loan policies to allow buyers of new-energy vehicles to borrow a larger portion of the purchase price. Starting in 2018, NEV buyers can borrow up to 85 percent of the cost from banks, up from the previous 80 percent.