China reduces NEV subsidies further by 20%
China is reducing subsidies to purchase so-called New Energy Vehicles (NEVs) – plug-in hybrids, battery EVs, and fuel-cell cars – by 20% this year. Next year, it will be reduced by 30% and end in 2023. Eventually, China wanted to phase out the subsidies by the end of 2020 but decided in November to extend the subsidies until 2022.
The latter was decided despite sales figures booming in November with sales exceeding 198 000 cars and December promising to top at 225 000 units. The market share of NEVs should reach 5,9% of the total car market in China. The majority – four-fifths – of these NEVs sold are battery-electric vehicles (BEV) with an expected market share of 4,7%.
Basic MINI EV
According to EV Sales Blog, the latest figures available show the best-selling EV in China to be Tesla’s Model 3, with some 116 000 cars sold. The latter starts since Tesla lowered prices in China by 8% at 249 900 yuan or €31 365.
Second comes the Wuling Hong Guang MINI EV with over 85 700 cars sold. It’s a ‘bare essentials’ city car jointly developed by SAIC, GM, and Liuzhou Wuling Motors. It’s only 2 917 millimeters long, 1 493 millimeters wide, and 1 621 millimeters high, and it should accommodate four people.
The MINI EV has a 63 kW and 85 Nm electric motor, and the option of a 9,2 kWh or 13,8 kWh battery delivering ranges from 120 to 170 km, respectively. The top speed is 100 km/hour. But its USP is its price starting at roughly €3 600, and it’s perfect for Chinese to drive in cities, replacing a scooter.
A rising star with 40 200 cars sold is the GAC Aion S. GAC New Energy calls itself China’s fastest-growing electric car manufacturer. The Aion S is offered in seven variants with ranges of 460 to 510km. It is powered by a single 135 kW (300 Nm) e-motor and starts at price ranges of 139 800 to 205 800 yuan (€17 380 to €25 900).
Another rising star is NIO, selling 25 400 of its ES6 model. NIO is a young start-up offering three luxury electric SUVs – EC6, ES8, and ES6 – for the moment, only on sale in its homeland China. It’s active in Formula E for electric race cars too.
The EVs of the Chinese carmaker are all designed from the ground up with a swappable battery. NIO claims over 1 200 patents regarding this technology, and today has 143 ‘Power Swap stations’ nationwide in 63 cities. And it’s adding one extra every week.
2035: end of ICE cars only
NIO is partnering with the world’s biggest battery manufacturer, CATL, among others, in a joint venture to offer swappable battery packs for its EVs in a program called ‘Battery-as-a-Service’ (BaaS). The Chinese government is actively promoting swappable batteries to be used commonly by electric cars in the future, especially for shared ones.
In November 2020, the Chinese government released a new updated roadmap for its automotive industry, aiming at 50% of total car sales by 2035, New Energy Vehicles (NEVs), and the rest classic hybrids. 2035 will mark the end of cars with combustion engines (ICE) only.