Last month saw China roll out its first electric taxis as the nation aims to put 500,000 "green'' vehicles on the road by the end of 2011.

So keen is China on filling its roads with "environmentally friendly'' cars that this week it will host a Green Vehicle Expo ( in Shanghai - positioning the event as the Asian equivalent of the world's largest such gathering, the European Electric Motor Show, which is held in Helsinki in November.

The three-day event begins on Thursday and will feature "hybrid vehicles, pure electric vehicles (BEV, including solar car), fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV), hydrogen vehicles, and other new energy vehicles (such as high-performance energy storage devices, dimethyl ether )',' according to organizers.

Among the international car markers supporting the event are Volkswagen, Ford and BMW, and they will be joined by the giant mainland Chinese manufacturer BYD.

Meanwhile, those first electric taxis in China have taken to the streets of the southern city of Shenzhen, while its near neighbor Hong Kong has recently announced plans to increase the amount of electric "plug'' recharging stations in its downtown area from 10 to 21 by the end of the year in an effort to promote the use of the cars.

Around 6,500 electric and hybrid vehicles will be introduced in Shenzhen by the end of 2012, according to local government press releases, and while that is a small fraction of the 260,000 vehicles in the city's public transport fleet, the government is encouraging more businesses - and private car owners - to follow suit by offering subsidies on purchases.

China now boasts the world's largest car market - outputting some 13.8 million vehicles last year, of which 13.6 million were sold, according to government figures. The country is also responsible for putting together two thirds of the world's electric car batteries.

Green Vehicle Expo

June 17-19

Shanghai Exhibition Centre

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