China Began to Develop and Apply Methanol-Fueled Vehicles in 1980s

Date: 2015-11-02

Compared with the hot EV market, methanol-fueled vehicles are facing discouragements in development. The trial in four provinces and one municipality has been applied long, but results are disappointing and nationwide trial still has an indefinite future.
Methanol-fueled vehicles are known to effectively decrease the vehicle exhaust emission and have a lower use-cost than vehicles using gasoline and natural gas. It is said that methanol-fueled vehicles omit less ox carbides, nit oxides and particulates than traditional-fueledvehicles, among which the omission of PM 2.5 could be decreased by more than 80%. In addition, methanol-fueled vehicles only cost 0.4 RMB every kilometer, compared with 0.7 RMB of gasoline-fueled vehicles, which could save more than 30,000 RMB for a trial-taxi one year. Environmental protection and economic benefits are two main reasons that China is developing methanol-fueled vehicles.
China News found out that China began to develop and apply methanol-fueled vehicles in 1980s. Ministry of Industry and Information listed Shanxi, Shaanxi and Shanghai into high-proportion methanol-fueled vehicles trial provinces in February, 2012. Gansu and Guizhou were added into the list in August, 2014 and the trial provinces were then enlarged to five. In addition, Ministry of Industry and Information appointed SMA, Chery and FAW Jingye as manufacturers to research and produce methanol-fueled vehicles.
However, compared with the fast growing of BEV market, methanol-fueled vehicles are stepping a slower pace in its 20-year development and 3-year trial. And the results in trial cities are also disappointing. Statistics show that only a few hundred vehicles are applied into market in these cities. It is said that controversy and loss of polies and standards are the main obstacles of its development.
The development of methanol-fueled vehicles is mainly guided by local governments rather than the central government. Besides, this industry does not have unified regulations. We still don’t have vehicle modification and operating safety standards in this area. Unqualified modifications influence methanol-fueled vehicles’ quality and its market recognition.
Recently, Ministry of Industry and Information published Standard for Construction of vehicle-used methanol fuels charging posts and Standard for vehicle-used methanol fuels operating safety. Professionals believe that the new policy shows that government will further support the application of methanol-fueled vehicles.
Analysts said that two main problems to be solved in methanol-fueled vehicles’ further development are the charging posts and fuel supply. The above two standards could effectively solve the first problem.
For fuel supply, the current situation is far from optimistic. It is known that the main active areas for methanol fuels manufacturers are Shanxi, Shaanxi and other rich coal resources districts. In addition, methanol fuels’ low market recognition, along with the incomplete production, cost and transportation conditions will bring more obstacles for methanol fuels’ future development.


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