Geely pressing on with methanol vehicles, chairman says

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A fleet of new methanol-fueled taxis developed by Geely, in Xian, Shaanxi province, China in 2018. (Reuters)

 

BEIJING — Chinese automaker Geely will keep working on vehicles powered by methanol even though the effort may fail, chairman Li Shufu said on Sunday.

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Zhejiang-based Geely, among a small number of automakers developing methanol-powered vehicles, is testing methanol taxis in some western Chinese cities as well as developing methanol-powered trucks at its commercial vehicles unit.

Li did not offer details of the technology. He has told Reuters that Geely would expand production of methanol-powered vehicles. According to Geely’s own website, to date it has already produced and tested 10,000 methanol-fueled vehicles that have been driven over 1 billion kilometers. Some 300,000 kilometers have been driven in Iceland as part of a pilot project there.

Li said Geely, which owns Volvo Cars and 9.7% stake in Daimler AG, invested in Carbon Recycling International, an Icelandic company, to work on technologies to produce methanol with carbon dioxide, in a way to lower overall carbon emissions.

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“We will keep exploring methanol vehicle technologies. Of course it might fail in the end, but currently we are still working on it,” Li told an industry conference in the western city of Chongqing, without elaborating.

Methanol fuel would boost China’s energy independence as the country has huge amounts of coal, which can be converted to methanol. Currently China is a major importer of petroleum. Geely’s Li has also said he expects methanol vehicles to be cleaner than gasoline models.

Geely is also developing battery electric vehicles, petrol-electric hybrid cars and hydrogen commercial vehicles.

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China, the world’s biggest auto market, is developing electric and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles.

Several automakers have been working on methanol vehicles. Karma and Roland Gumpert have explored fuel-cell models involving methanol.

 

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