China Wants Volt's Electric-Car Secrets; GM Says No; Tug Of War Ensues
The 2012 Chevrolet Volt will be the very first electric or plug-in vehicle built outside China to be sold in noticeable numbers in the country.
Hand it over, buddy
But there's a catch: China requires GM to hand over the intellectual property behind at least some of the Volt's technology to a Chinese company to qualify for generous incentives.
Last spring, the rules were changed
for the country's "New Energy Vehicle Development Plan" to give generous incentives only to high-fuel-efficiency and plug-in cars that are built in China. It covers battery electric cars, plug-in hybrids, and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles, but not hybrids.
But here's the worse part: To qualify for the incentives, a Chinese-owned firm must own the intellectual property rights and have "mastery" of one of the qualifying vehicle's three key components: the electric motor, battery pack, or power electronics.
Violating WTO rules?