China Electric Car Market Report for October: Hot and Getting Hotter

Norway leads the EV revolution, but China is quickly gaining ground. According to Bloomberg Hyperdrive (email), a total of 722,000 plug-in passenger cars and commercial vehicles were sold in China in October. Battery electric vehicles accounted for 22% of the passenger car market, and plug-in hybrids claimed another 9% share. BYD tops the sales chart.

China’s share of global passenger electric vehicle sales rose from 26% in 2015, to 48% in 2021, to 56% in the first half of 2022. Bloomberg’s Colin McKerracher says he expects a sharp increase in the final months of this year. year that could push the total market share of electric vehicles in China to 60%. In trucks, buses and two-wheelers, China is still ahead.

Here are five takeaways from EV sales in China this month:

1) The average range of electric cars is constantly increasing. There are now nearly 250 different battery-electric models for sale in the Chinese passenger car market, and the average range of models sold so far this year has been 420 kilometers (261 miles) as measured by the NEDC standard. Micro cars like the Wuling Air average less than 250 miles of range, while large sedans and SUVs often offer 500 miles of range or more. Mid-range across all segments has increased 42% since 2018.

2) Lithium ion phosphate (LFP) batteries continue to capture ever-increasing market share. Because they don’t use cobalt or nickel, they generally cost less than other types of EV batteries. The number of new EV models in China using LFP batteries is increasing rapidly and now accounts for half of all models arriving on the market. This is leading to major downward revisions to projected cobalt demand and highlights how the EV market is able to adapt to different price dynamics and external pressures, Bloomberg He says.

3) The efficiency of electric vehicles in China is slowly but steadily improving. Despite increases in average range and the size of associated battery packs, the average efficiency of electric vehicles has improved by about 2% per year since 2018. This is mainly due to more efficient motors and power electronics, better thermal management systems and efforts to reduce weight elsewhere in the car. Larger vehicles have seen the greatest improvements, although average battery pack sizes have increased over this period. As more cell-to-pack and cell-to-frame battery designs and other advancements are made in the near future, the efficiency gains should continue.

4) Plug-in hybrids (PHEV) are taking off in larger vehicle segments. While sales of plug-in hybrids are slowing in Europe and never really taking off in North America, they’re finding real traction in larger vehicle segments in China. PHEVs accounted for 15% of sales in the large car segment and nearly 25% in the large SUV segment from January to August. In part, this is because high battery prices make it difficult to completely electrify larger, heavier vehicles while keeping them cost-competitive.

Chinese automakers have also delivered much higher electric range on their PHEVs than most global brands, many of which treat PHEVs primarily as a compliance tool to meet emission targets rather than designing them around need. of consumers. Plug-in hybrids are also emerging as a popular choice in regions where public charging infrastructure is not as developed. Sales patterns in China show that the technology is certainly not dead yet and probably still has a role to play. The biggest challenge is ensuring they are actually plugged in and charged.

5) EV sales are spreading beyond the biggest cities. Places like Shanghai and Beijing have experienced high EV adoption rates for several years now, in part due to citywide policies that limit the number of new license plates issued. EVs were exempt from some of these restrictions, making them a popular choice in Chinese megacities. These cities also have clusters of local automakers and component suppliers, good charging infrastructure, and other incentives that help drive EV adoption. But in the last couple of years, EV sales have spread rapidly to smaller cities and towns, highlighting the fact that electrification is not just a big-city phenomenon.

The takeaway electric car in China

The real question is, when will Chinese electric car makers start exporting their products to world markets? For now, there appears to be enough demand in China to keep all those factories going, but those companies will want to expand sales to other countries at some point.

Much will depend on the policies China puts in place regarding the trade practices its major producers should adhere to. Just this week, a Chinese national was arrested in Canada on charges of industrial espionage. This sort of thing makes people nervous about doing business with Chinese interests. If anything prevents the Chinese from dominating the electric car world, it will be politics, not the quality of the vehicles.


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