Like most countries, China has been on a transition to New Energy Vehicles (NEV), or Alternative Fuel Vehicle (新能源汽车) for some time with a strategy centered on pure electric vehicles, along with plug-in hybrid vehicles and fuel cell vehicles.
Not only critical for reducing city-level emissions (eg Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen) which were hitting record toxic levels, but also quite important for reduced reliance on imported fuels with China importing around 50% of its ever-growing oil requirements.
How did China become the world’s largest production base of electric cars?
In 2006, the government began to promote new energy vehicles and development in its “Eleventh Five-Year Plan (2006–2010)” and in 2009 launched the “Ten Cities, Thousands of Vehicles Demonstration Program” which created large-scale pilots in ten cities deploying electric vehicles in government fleets.
In 2011, the Central government’s Energy Conservation and New Energy Vehicle Industry Development Plan (2012-2020) (节能与新能源汽车产业发展规划) set some even clearer goals with examples being
- by 2020, the production capacity of pure electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles will reach 2 million
- by 2020, the average fuel consumption of passenger cars produced in that year will be reduced to 5.0 liters/100 kilometers, and the fuel consumption of energy-saving passenger cars will be reduced to 4.5 liters/100 kilometers. The fuel consumption of new commercial vehicles will be close to the international advanced level.
- Focus on the construction of power battery industry clusters
- Strengthen the R & D and production capacity of key components. Cultivate 2 to 3 backbone enterprises in the fields of drive motors and high-efficiency transmissions.
- Develop alternative fuel vehicles according to local conditions. Explore the application of other alternative fuel vehicle technologies to promote the diversified development of vehicle energy.
What took place following was the development of state-led research centers, industry co-ordination, state-led investment together with a surge in private capital, preferential policies, along with large subsidies for end product buyers.
Seven years on and China is in the midst of an electric car boom with nearly 100 manufacturers and a highly established battery and drivetrain industry.
While there are numerous start-ups and NEV manufacturers, the largest local electric vehicle manufacturers in China are BYD Auto, JAC, BAIC, and Geely. It is also worth noting that China is home to the world’s largest battery maker for EV’s, Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL).
Hot start-ups in the electric car space include XPeng Motors who began shipping G3 2019 SUV and will launch their P7 Sedan in early 2020. NIO in partnership with JAC has released its ES8 and ES6 models. The Byton M-Byte is expected to enter production in 2020. Others include Singulato Motor, WM Motor, CHJ Automotive, JingChi, Youxia Motors, Polestar (Geely), Baojun, and Seres.
In 2017, the government began to gradually reduce preferential subsidies for the purchase of new energy vehicles which are set to be completely eliminated by 2020. Locally made new energy vehicles are still exempt from sales tax at this point which is believed to run until Dec, 2020.
From January to October 2019, the total production of automobiles in China was 20.444 million and sales 20.652 million. Of that, China’s new energy vehicle output was 983,000 units.
In total, it is estimated that there are about 400 million vehicles in China of which 3-5 million are electric/hybrid.
2020 China Electric and Hybrid Cars
Here is a list, with pics and specs, of the latest electric cars in China. These are all produced in China and approved for sales tax exemption (and are cars that you can actually buy and drive away). Some are from joint ventures with foreign automotive firms and many are wholly local development. Prices, where available, are estimates garnered from Sina Auto with USD$1 approx.= 元7.
Pure Electric Vehicles
ES8 Price: 元440000
There is also a smaller ES6 with similar design and similar range.
腾势X Price: 元350000
奔腾B30EV400 Price: 元188800
X7EV Price: 元unknown
T60EV Price: 元143800
MENLO Price: 元188800
帝豪EV Price: 元155000
GE11 Price: 元200000
帝豪GSE Price: 元160000
中华H530EV Price: 元 unknown
EX5400 Price: 元180000
帝豪EV Price: 元unknown
江淮iEV6E Price: 元55000
江淮iEV7S Price: 元120000
北斗星 Price: 元unknown
E20 Price: 元68000
帅客 Price: 元170000
比亚迪e3 Price: 元160000
传祺AION LX Price: 元340000
菱智M5EV Price: 元210000
奔奔E-Star Price: 元95000
CS55 E-Rock Price: 元unknown
eQ2 Price: 元98000
易至EV3 Price: 元80000
哪吒N01 Price: 元130000
ARRIZO5 e/ARRIZO e Price: 元160000
eQ1 Price: 元70000
奥迪 E 创 Price: 元unknown
田野EV Price: 元 unknown
E 300 eL
XC90 T8 LFBAGD3
The Future direction of New Energy Vehicles in China
New Energy Vehicle Industry Development Plan (2021-2035) is currently in planning with early indications of goals being set for
- that by 2025, new energy vehicles will account for about 25% of new car sales
- the average power consumption of new cars dropped to 12 kWh/100 kilometers, and the average fuel consumption of plug-in hybrid (including extended range) passenger cars dropped to 2 liters/100 kilometers.
- continuing focus on pure electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid (including extended range) vehicles, fuel cell vehicles.
Some speculate that car sales in China will reach 35 million of which NEV’s could amount to 8.75 million. For an update on the new policy formation, keep an eye 新能源汽车产业发展规划
The arrival of Tesla
Tesla Gigafactory 3 is readying for production with the first batch in January or early February of 2020. The Model 3 from the Shanghai factory is priced at 355,800 yuan (US$50,595). The US-made Model 3 is no longer being imported in China and some speculate the price may reduce further as the last of the US imports are cleared from inventory.
The Model Y will also be produced in Shanghai. Tesla’s made locally in Shanghai should also be eligible for subsidies/tax exemption.
It is reported that an annualized production rate of 500,000 vehicles is expected out of the new Shanghai factory and have stated that they hope to see Model 3 production reach 3000 per week by early 2020.
They have also stated that their Supercharger network will be near doubled, increasing 39% to 362 stations within the coming months.
EV Charging networks in China
According to the EVCIPA (China Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Promotion Association – http://www.evcipa.org.cn), as of the end of May 2019, the number of facilities across the country totaled 976,000 units.
Public charging facilities make up about 40% of the near one million charging stations. The majority of the volume was recorded in Beijing and Shanghai, as well as in Fujian, Guangdong, Hunan, Hubei, Henan, Shandong, Shanxi, Shaanxi and Zhejiang provinces.
The largest recharging station operators in China who account for around 90% of the network are
- Qingdao Teld New Energy Co., Ltd (Tgood) – currently has 47% of China’s EV charging market.
- State Grid Corporation of China
- Star Charge
- EV Power
- AnYo Charging
- Shenzhen Car Energy Network
Fuel Cell Vehicles
According to China.org.cn, China had around 1,200 fuel cell vehicles (mostly commercial) and less than 20 hydrogen fuel stations at the end of 2017.
The Chinese government has set a goal to have 5,000 fuel cell vehicles on its roads by 2020; 50,000 by 2025 and 1 million by 2030. To that end a deal has been struck between Toyota, one of the leaders in fuel cell technology, to enter the country.
Toyota Motor has partnered with Guangzhou Automobile Group (GAC) and FAW Group to form a brand that will launch hydrogen fuel-cell car models.
Toyota also supplies parts to Beiqi Foton Motor Co Ltd, Beijing SinoHytec Co Ltd, FAW and Higer Bus.