In 2012, the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), began its Methanol Vehicle Pilot Project with 150 methanol fueled Geely taxis in Jinzhong, Shanxi Province. The project has since expanded to several more locations and now comprises over 1000 vehicles in total.
Recently, after more than three years of operation in Jinzhong, MIIT began the acceptance review of that project. The review included an on-site inspection and a panel review in Beijing which gave other government ministries such as the Ministry of Transportation (MOT), Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) and National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) the opportunity to weigh in on the findings. The MIIT's final report of its review is scheduled to be submitted to the State Council this month, along with a policy recommendation, and the State Council's approval and endorsement of the report could occur in as little as 3 months.
Key conclusions from the Pilot Project include that the taxis operation and tests have met all the requirements set forth by MIIT:
- The Geely model SC7 used in the Pilot has met all initial drivability targets; ignition, driving, fuel shift, acceleration and durability.
- Emissions have met the China National 4 standard (equivalent to Euro 4), and formaldehyde emissions meet the MIIT requirement of 10mg/km.
- One fuel filling has allowed as much as a 320 km range, and average fuel usage is 15.3L M100/100km.
The review panel has thus suggested to open the Shanxi Provincial market to methanol passenger cars. Geely has already invested in a passenger car production facility in the province which will be capable of producing up to 100,000 vehicles designed to run on 100% methanol per year and will begin full-scale production later this year. Additional policies have been put in place to increase uptake in methanol vehicles, including green plate registration and subsidies such as free-parking. Additionally, the Shanxi provincial government is actively engaging the Central government on the direction of future national policy.
MI is an active participant in the MIIT Pilot, having provided funding in 2015 for a research module on irregular emissions, and with plans for 2016 support for a module focusing on human health impacts. Outside of the MIIT Pilot, there are now 470,000 taxis, trucks and buses running on high proportion methanol fuels across China.