Vehicle sales in China, the world's largest auto market, has seen an unusual decline of 6% in 2018 for the first time in 20 years, according to China Passenger Car Association (CPCA). But when it comes to electric vehicles (EVs), China still keeps its escalating trend, with the production and sales number of new energy vehicles reaching 1.26 million in 2018, up 64% compared to 2017.
Even though the CPCA has predicted that the sales slowdown in auto market will continue for the next two years, voices from China, whether from members of the government or the industry groups, still show huge confidence in the future of its electric vehicle market. And here are 3 figures released recently to prove this.
1.26 million NEVs were sold in 2018
In a forum held by China EV100, a nonprofit organization and third-party think tank aimed at boosting the development of EV industry, WAN Gang (万钢), vice chairperson of The Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and chairman of The China Association for Science and Technology, announced that China has produced and sold 1.26 million new-energy vehicles in 2018.
"New-energy vehicles has become a symbol of the global auto industry transformation," said Wan Gang. "China's new-energy vehicle market is in a critical stage of entering its growth stage, but it has been in a dominating position in the global industry system," said Wan Gang.
According to the Electric Vehicle World Sales Database, around 2 million new-energy vehicles were sold in 2018, which means that China has sold 63% of world's NEVs. But China is still seeking growth in the next decades.
2 Million NEVs to be sold by 2020
China's goal of new-energy vehicles in 2020 is to produce and sell 2 million of them, said MIAO Wei (苗圩), China's minister of industry and information, in an interview with state-owned broadcaster CCTV. "Even though the industry continues to rely on the government subsidies," said him.
In the interview, Miao Wei said that his ministry will supervise the quality and safety of new-energy vehicles, and he is confident that the goal of 2 million NEV sales will be realized.
15 Million EVs to be sold by 2030
"By the year of 2030, 15 million electric vehicles will be sold in China," said CHEN Qingtai (陈清泰), president of China EV10, in the same forum. He even indicated that 15 million is the minimum of his prediction in the speech.
Although he had an optimistic prediction, Chen Qingtai suggested that China's electric vehicle industry is facing severe challenges when the government subsidies decline and foreign capital floods into the market.
There are some reasons why the production and sales of EVs are rising in China. The first one is the government subsidy and other incentives. The government has been offering subsidies of up to CNY 50,000 (USD 7,400) per unit to EV buyers.
But China is considering a reduction in EV subsidies in 2019 as the government wants to push automakers to innovate rather than rely on fiscal policy to spur demand for alternative-energy cars, according to Bloomberg.
Another reason is that most electric vehicles sold in China are produced in China by domestic automakers who have the ability to keep their cost low and keep the price of EVs competitive to petrol cars. (Its more competitive when considering the subsidies.)
And also, China has lots of strengths in infrastructure construction. The State Grid Corporation of China, the world’s largest utility, said in 2018 that it planned to build 120,000 public charging stations for electric cars by 2020, according to South China Morning Post.
For people live in big cities including Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen, there is another reason to buy new-energy vehicles: new license plates. These big cities in China are limiting the numbers of cars on the city roads by restricting the issuance of new license plates. In these cities, the cost of simply obtaining a new license plate for a gasoline car can be as much as a new car. But for EV buyers, the plate can be free.