With the Chinese government pushing Chinese automakers to make more fuel efficient vehicles to help reduce smog and pollution in China, the automakers have responded by stating that they plan to lead worldwide production of hybrid and electric vehicles by 2012.

The Chinese automakers believe that the American car companies have overlooked new technologies and are already behind on the EV front.  China looks to take the lead in production of electric vehicles stating that the American automakers have ignored the technology for too long.

Chinese automakers have the advantage of freedom to pursue new technologies.  Their are not tied into internal combustion engines and the large manufacturing facilities that are set up to make internal combustion engines.  Chinese automakers can quickly convert to different forms of propulsion.

The Chinese companies interested in the hybrid and EV markets include BYD, Brilliance, Chery, Dongfeng, and SAIC. 

There is some fear amongst U.S. automakers that believe that China is capable of taking this leading role in electric technologies.  According to the GM's head of China's government policy David Tulauskas, "China is well positioned to lead this."

Source:  Edmunds.com