* SAIC eyes 20 pct of green vehicle market by end-2015
* SAIC, Volvo bus agrees on parts JV (Adds executive’s quote, details of new parts JV with Volvo bus)
SHANGHAI, April 22 (Reuters) - Top Chinese automaker SAIC Motor plans to invest more than 12 billion yuan ($1.85 billion) in green vehicles and related parts through 2015, a senior executive said, as it targets a 20 percent share of China’s energy-efficient-vehicle market.
All domestic companies, from Dongfeng Motor Group to Geely , are working harder than ever on clean vehicles, seen by many as the next industry gold mine.
“We will step up our efforts in the coming year to improve our technologies on hybrid, EV and full-cell models,” Gao Weimin, head of the company’s research and development unit, told a forum on electric vehicles on the sidelines of the Shanghai Auto Show.
Rival Dongfeng Motor plans to launch its first electric car next year and aims to sell 100,000 units by 2015.[ID:nB9E7EV010]
SAIC, a General Motors and Volkswagen partner, rolled out hybrid Roewe 750 sedan last year and plans to launch the plug-in hybrid Roewe 550 by the end of 2012.
The automaker has reached an agreement with Volvo bus to set up a 100 million yuan 60-40 venture to make driveline systems for hybrid and electric buses.
The partners operate a venture in Shanghai, making Sunwin buses.
Beijing has set up an ambitious target to put 1 million green vehicles on the road in 2020, from an estimated few hundreds currently.
But automakers still face an uphill task as questions remain over consumer perceptions about the safety and convenience of electric cars, and about their true environmental benefit since most electricity in China comes from dirty coal.
Foreign rivals including Honda Motor Co , Toyota Motor Co , Ford Motor Co and their local partners are looking to electric and low-emission vehicles as a way to tackle stricter emissions standards being introduced around the world.
Japan’s Honda said earlier this week that it plans to start making electric cars in China as early as next year, the boldest step so far by a global automaker to tap Chinese demand for energy-efficient cars. [ID:nL3E7FJ0O1]
No large foreign automaker sells electric vehicles in China. ($1 = 6.494 yuan) (Reporting by Fang Yan and Jason Subler; Editing by Ken Wills and Vinu Pilakkott)