The popular image of modern China is of a rapidly industrialising nation, opening a new coal-fired power station every week and generally hammering the environment. And there’s a lot of truth in that impression. 

I can’t find much evidence that China’s rulers have heavily bought into the idea that Co2 production is a one-way route to global meltdown, but they are increasingly keen on electrically-powered vehicles.

Indeed, according to the latest reports, China could end up being the world’s biggest market for battery-powered cars, perhaps putting 2.2 million such vehicles on the road in 2020.  

The reason for China’s state enthusiasm for electric motivation - known as the ‘New Energy’ project - is as much to do with reducing urban pollution levels and the effects of increasing oil prices over the next decade. Many in both government and the auto industry now think that the increasing affluence of countries such as Indonesia will increase demand for oil and force prices permanently upwards.