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China

Is China winning the electric vehicle race?

The global market is growing exponentially, increasing six-fold since 2013 and doubling since 2015. Much of that growth is being driven by China.

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China is winning the electric vehicle race

Demand for electric vehicles in China is soaring. Nearly 1.3 million new energy vehicles (plug-in electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids) were sold there last year – a 62% rise on 2017.

The global market is growing exponentially, increasing six-fold since 2013 and doubling since 2015. Much of that growth is being driven by China. As this chart shows, it’s been just four years since Chinese sales of electric vehicles overtook those in the US. Last year, they were more than three times higher, and the gap is predicted to get wider.


As this chart shows, it’s been just four years since Chinese sales of electric vehicles overtook those in the US
Image: Statista

To put that number into context, it’s estimated that as of September 2018, there were only around 4 million electric vehicles in use across the whole world.

New energy vehicles accounted for just over 4% of all 28.1 million automobiles sold in China last year. That’s a higher rate than the US (under 2%), and Europe (just over 3%).

But it’s not high enough to satisfy the Chinese government. Last April it announced ambitious targets of 10% for conventional passenger cars in 2019, rising to 12% in 2020.

Although those targets wouldn’t quite make China the world’s most enthusiastic consumers of electric cars per head of population – that title goes to Norway – the sheer scale of the Chinese market makes it far and away the most important in the world.

That is certainly what prompted Tesla’s decision to open a huge new manufacturing plant in Shanghai.

Construction of the Gigafactory 3 began earlier this month, with the stated aim of producing half a million vehicles a year. Production will focus on the Tesla Model 3 solely for the domestic Chinese market.

The push for electric vehicles now forms a major part of the environmental policies of many governments. At least 20 have set formal targets, with China one of several nations to announce a desire to phase out traditional internal combustion engines entirely.

It’s not just climate change that is prompting policymakers to act: a growing body of scientific evidence points to the damaging effects air pollution is having on people’s health, life expectancy, and even intelligence.

All this points to a bright future for electric vehicles. China’s Association of Automobile Manufacturers predicts a further 1.6 million sales in 2019. And that could be just the start, as the chart below shows.

Growth of this magnitude would be impressive under any circumstances, but particularly in contrast to the poor performance of the car market overall.

Six straight months of declining sales in China have rattled manufacturers already suffering from a collapse in diesel sales. British carmaker Jaguar Land Rover pointed to falling demand in China as one of the factors behind its decision to slash 10% of its workforce. The effects of a trade war between China and the US, and a slowing Chinese economy, are combining to make it a tough market.

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Business

Sony to shift smartphone plant to Thailand

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Sony’s share of the smartphone market has fallen sharply in recent years

BEIJING/TOKYO, March 28 (Reuters) – Sony Corp will close its smartphone plant in Beijing in the next few days, a company spokesman said, as the Japanese electronics giant aims to cut costs in the loss-making business.

Sony will shift production to its plant in Thailand in a bid to halve costs and turn the smartphone business profitable in the year from April 2020, the spokesman said on Thursday.

The decision to scale back its smartphone workforce, which could see up to 2,000 of the total 4,000 jobs cut by March 2020, is part of a move to reduce fixed costs in the business, and also includes procurement reform.

Sony’s share of the smartphone market has fallen sharply in recent years — from more than 3% in 2010, according to the research portal Statistica — to less than 1% currently.

It has struggled to compete against leaders Apple, Samsung Electronics and Huawei Technologies, all of which are racing to develop new 5G devices.

Sony’s smartphone business was one of the few weak spots in its otherwise robust earnings, bracing for a loss of 95 billion yen ($863 million) for this financial year. ($1 = 110.1200 yen).

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China

How will Thailand’s election affect China?

China’s investment in Thailand will not be affected much by the result of the general election.

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According to Chang Xiang a researcher at the Thai-Chinese Strategic Research Center at the National Research Council of Thailand, China’s investment in Thailand will not be affected much by the result of the general election.

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China

Will Asian economies dominate the world in 2050?

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Out of the 10 largest world economies of the world, four will be from Asia with China and India leading the world by 2050, according to the PwC report.

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