Electric car sales set to boom in China

Sales of electric, plug-in hybrid and hydrogen-powered vehicles in China are forecast to rise to 20% of overall new car sales by 2025 from just 5% now, according to the government.

The statement is significant as China is the world’s biggest car market.

Sales of so-called new energy vehicles (NEV), which include battery electric, plug-in hybrid and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles will rise as China’s NEV industry has improved their technology and competitiveness, the State Council, China’s cabinet, said in a policy paper as part of the release of the country’s 14th five-year plan through to 2025.

The Chinese government advocated for significant improvements in the technologies of China’s electric vehicle components and building more efficient electric vehicle charging and battery swapping networks to make electric vehicles more convenient.

The paper also said the Chinese government will improve the green car quota system to guide automakers to make more environmentally friendly vehicles after it ends NEV subsidies in two years and boost NEV sales for public uses such as bus and trucks.

Companies including Tesla, Volkswagen and Nio are currently expanding electric vehicle production in China apace, with sales expected to be around 1.1 million units this year.

Despite the latest push for electric vehicles, the new outlook for NEVs in 2025 is lower than a 25% goal mentioned in a policy proposal published by China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology last year.

China’s drive comes in the wake of growing calls to halt the export of millions of used cars, vans and minibuses  to the developing world.

A recent report by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) found poor quality vehicles are being exported from Europe, the United States and Japan to emerging nations contributing significantly to air pollution and hindering efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change. It also calls for a new set of global standards which will remove sub standards vehicles from export and use.

The report shows that between 2015 and 2018, 14 million used light-duty vehicles were exported worldwide. Some 80 per cent went to low- and middle-income countries, with more than half going to Africa.