There is no doubt that we are seeing the birth of a new era in automotive engineering. High oil prices and the realisation that we cannot go on polluting the environment the way we are have forced us to seriously start researching alternative technologies.
For the next decade it would seem as if hybrid electric/internal combustion systems will walk away as the winners. Once consumers are used to EV technology and the few remaining problems have been ironed out, we will most likely enter a world where fully electric vehicles reign supreme.
General Motors is one manufacturer who seems to realise the long term growth potential of the EV market. The company has just signed a deal with a Chinese company through which it hopes to accelerate away from its rivals in the rest of the world in the field of electric vehicles. China has, of course, become the world's biggest car market - an honour that was previously held by the United States of America - and GM is acutely aware of this fact.
The company had its first board meeting in China this week after signing the deal with Chinese company Saic. In terms of the contract the two companies will jointly develop low cost vehicles and new battery technology for both the Chinese and international markets.
China is subsidising electric vehicles in that country by 30%, so for really cheap electric cars one will have to travel to Shanghai - until Western governments start putting their money where their mouths are when it comes to EV technology.
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