Michelin Takes Sustainable Mobility Challenge to China
After a final day of intense preparation at the Shanghai Formula One track, and after completion of the first round of tests on participating vehicles, Challenge Bibendum was officially launched this morning at Tongji University, in Shanghai International Automobile City. Following Chinese tradition, Mr. Edouard Michelin, CEO of Michelin Group, declared the Sixth Challenge Bibendum open with the strike of a gong. Speeches were delivered by Mr. HAN Zheng, Mayor of Shanghai, and Ms. DENG Nan, Vice Minister, Ministry of Science and Technology.
For the next three days, some 2000 participants, including 500 journalists from 45 countries, will review the performance of 150 vehicles as well as share their experience during high level conferences that bring together key industry players, decision makers and non-governmental organizations.
This morning’s meeting was designed so everyone could learn about the respective strategies of China, Europe, the United States of America, as well as those of other countries including Japan and the United Kingdom, in the field of environmentally friendly automobiles. Contributors to the conference came from the automotive industry and included the CEOs of PSA Peugeot Citroën and China’s Dongfeng, as well as from the political arena, with addresses from Mr. de Robien, France’s Minister of Transport and Ms. Loyola de Palacio, Vice-President of the European Commission and Commissioner for Energy and Transport.
The Opening Ceremony of Challenge Bibendum was also an opportunity to hear high-ranking Chinese government officials, who emphasized their country’s commitment to promoting clean energies, diversifying energy sources and generally ensuring their country’s sustainable development at a time when they are experiencing an unprecedented economic boom.
With 1.3 billion inhabitants and a national car fleet that is growing exponentially, China is the world’s third largest car producer and boasts an extremely buoyant market. As such it is committed to playing a major role on the global mobility scene. Fully aware of what is at stake, the country has already embarked on a strong program designed to promote cleaner vehicles. The project to meet the Euro 3 standard by 2008 testifies to the country’s determination to make traffic less polluting. It has moreover initiated a number of research programs based on public/private partnerships involving research laboratories, universities and industrial facilities. These are targeted, among others, at electric, hybrid and fuel-cell powered vehicles.
This year’s Challenge Bibendum will foster a valuable exchange of views between China, and participating automobile producers and energy and equipment suppliers as evidenced by today’s meeting. The speakers stressed the importance of cooperation between the public and private sectors in order to bring about better mobility. The results of the technical tests currently in progress will complete the picture. They will also serve to measure the progress made since last year’s Challenge Bibendum hosted by California.
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