Two of the world's super powers have united as US President Barack Obama and China President Hu Jintao announced a package of seven measures to strengthen co-operation between the countries on clean energy.
The US-China Electric Vehicle Initiative follows on from the US-China Electric Vehicle Forum announced in September 2009 and includes a clean energy research centre, an energy efficiency action plan, a renewable energy partnership, 21st Century coal, a shale gas initiative and an energy co-operation programme.
Under the initiative, activities will include a joint standards development under which the countries will explore the development of joint product and testing standards for electric vehicles including a common design for plugs to be used in the vehicles and common test protocols. There will also be joint demonstrations of electric vehicles in both countries and a joint roadmap which identifies research and development needs as well as issues that relate to the introduction of electric vehicles. The countries will also develop materials to improve public understanding of electric vehicle technologies.
Additional measures include the establishment of the Clean Energy Research Centre, which will use teams of scientists and engineers from both countries and be supported by public and private funding of at least $150million over five years. An energy efficiency action plan will also see the two countries work together to improve the efficiency of buildings and industrial facilities, along with consumer appliances.
Currently, the two countries are the world's largest automobile markets and in the past year both have made significant investments in electric vehicles. The US, for example, established the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and expanded a $7,500 consumer tax credit for electric vehicles; while China has provided significant investments for battery research and has included charging infrastructure in its economic recovery plan.