China Amazes With 180,000 Plug-In Electric Car Sales In December

JAN 23 2019 BY MARK KANE 62

December didn’t disappoint expectations. It was tremendous.

While the overall car market in China shrunk in December by significant 16% year-over-year, the plug-in electric car market is booming, reaching a level not even close to what we have seen before.

According to EV Sales Blog, last month closed with 181,385 plug-in car sales, which is 70% more than a year ago and new all-time record – around 40,000 higher than the previous record in November! December was also the fourth straight month with a new sales record.

The market share went through the roof and seems to be 8%!

The best selling models for the month were:

  • BAIC EU-Series – 12,561
  • BAIC EC-Series – 8,407
  • BYD e5 – 8,234
  • BYD Yuan BEV – 8,021
  • BAIC EX-Series – 6,844

In 2018 sales of plug-in electric cars in China increased roughly 83% to around 1,102,375 at average 4.2% market share (twice higher than in 2017).

It’s noticeable that sales in China were last year higher than global sales of 1 million in 2017. That’s how quick the market and particularly China is moving forward.

The top-selling models for the year are:

  • BAIC EC-Series – 90,637
  • BYD Qin PHEV – 47,424
  • JAC iEV S/E – 46,586
  • BYD e5 – 46,213
  • Chery eQ – 39,374

The best foreign model (and brand) was BMW 530e iPerformance, which noted 13,493 sales. It seems that the Nissan LEAF derivative – the Nissan Sylphy Zero Emission noted 5,520 sales including 2,110 in December.

BYD remains the biggest player in China for the 5th consecutive year, with 20% of the market, followed by BAIC with 15% share. Tesla’s share is estimated at 1%.

Plug-in electric car sales in China – December 2018

Source: EV Sales Blog

Categories: China, Sales

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62 Comments on "China Amazes With 180,000 Plug-In Electric Car Sales In December"

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…n fantastic! (Falling Down)

It must be very costly for Chinese vehicle makers to plan for that extreme degree of seasonality in sales over the 12 months of the year. Systematically go from low sales in Jan to high sales in Dec every year. I expect the same is true for ICE sales. Any idea why?

Chinese new year is in later jan to early feb every year. The entire country enters hibernation mode 1 week ahead of the new year.

You are looking at a chart that includes some subsidies cuts and its effect.

So China is now over 50% of global BEV and PHEV sales. Wow! EU, Japan and EU are falling behind rapidly.

EU also falling behind 🙂

I think China has been >50% of global EVs for a couple years. They are serious, and are the main reason German carmakers are finally getting serious. GM’s future EV efforts also seem to focus on China.

8% market share in December is impressive.

WELL, LET’S COUNT in the sales of European Union, USA and Japan even electric golf kart and for sure EVs sales will overcome those of China. Have you ever watched what is classified as EV in China? let’s be serious, any electric kart with a range of 6 miles is count in.

No it does not. LSEVs are an additional 2-3 million.

For the month of December ~1 in 12 vehicles sold in the largest market in the world was electric.

China has a much smarter strategic policy position than USA (or any other country) towards EVs. For China EV adoption is means to “energy security” and eventual Chinese global manufacturing dominance of EVs.

HAVARD Kennedy School POLICY BRIEF -Electric Vehicles in China:

“CHINA HAS SET VERY AMBITIOUS TARGETS FOR DOMESTIC EV DEVELOPMENT AND DEPLOYMENT…China wants to move its economy towards higher-value added manufacturing and prevent dependence on foreign innovation.[3] Second, the health and environmental consequences of energy use have become barriers to further economic growth. Finally, China’s dependence on foreign countries and the open seas for its oil and, more recently, its coal and natural gas, exacerbates its perception of energy vulnerability. EVs are touted as addressing all three priorities…” -source:

Couldn’t agree more, many see Tesla as the driver for EV adoption and they certainly give the Europeans a kick in the teeth regarding brand image, but the real driver for investments is China. Soon it’s going to be fly or die. VW and others would have never pledged such a big pot of money, if the Chinese market and Chinese expansion into Europe wouldn’t be at stake

To be fair, while China deserves the credit for pushing everyone else, I would credit Tesla with being the driver for China’s EV adoption. Prior to the success of the Roadster and Model S, nobody – including China – was seriously thinking of EVs as anything better than glorified golf carts.

@Spudely said: “…while China deserves the credit for pushing everyone else, I would credit Tesla with being the driver for China’s EV adoption…”

Perhaps Tesla EV innovation has inspired Chinese EV innovation (in a “copy that thing & that process” way) but the EV adoption driver for China is driven by China’s strong desire and determination to win what they view as a long-game strategic economic war for global dominance.

And at this rate they are going to win. Just watch the Chinese EV models move into Europe… probably in about 10 years time. Once they’ve reached production levels to satisfy China and gotten their safety standards up to snuff. They’re close.

Actually no chinese brand is able to sell in numbers in Europe, even if they own several past famous european brands like MG, Saab, Volvo. Quality, safety of those models are simply illegal in Europe, North America, Japan. The very largest part of EVs produced there are merely Kart, and most of the cars have unrelevant ranges. For sure China is the number one producer and it will last forever as far as it sells only in the internal market.

Actually China and India were having a secret meeting in Copenhagen in December 2009. Obama and Clinton barged into the meeting and were able to presuade the Chinese officials of the need to address Climate Change. They sent the message to XI who acknowledge the problem. XI set comprehensive policies to tackle climate change and pollution and goals that they beat each year.
If the GOP would have agreed to a Carbon Tax we would have been further along than we are. Instead now we have an administration that denies Climate Change.

it’s not Administration denying, the scientists are denying it the way it is depicted by media and sold by some politicians to people to make them pay more taxes and change their habits. Quite the same action taken by Xi, who is a dictator, don’t forget.

Trump is a wannabe dictator.

Really? I actually am a scientist and your description of what scientists think and what they are doing is pure fiction. Stop lying.

No, the US report on climate change published under the current POTUS recognizes global warming with humans being the driving factor. This is the scientists. The current administration tones down and tries to make it sound like less of a problem then it really is. It is a bit like news headlines trying to be misleading, they phrase it in such a way to change the tone of the message.

@Rom M said: “…Obama and Clinton barged into the meeting and were able to presuade the Chinese officials of the need to address Climate Change…”

Maybe you were only 10 in 2009 and don’t remember it, but it Google it.
Also look at what China is doing and has done for renewable energy.

@Ron M said: Maybe you were only 10 in 2009 and don’t remember it, but it Google it. Also look at what China is doing and has done for renewable energy.”

I wish I was only 10 in 2009.. add a few decades.

What Obama & Clinton had to say about Climate Change has zero to do with China’s today pro EV policy.

No, it’s the other way around, BYD was moving into fully vertically integrated EVs all the way before 2008, leading Warren Buffett to invested $200 million in 2008 for exactly this reason. At that time (2008) the Tesla Roadster hasn’t even launched yet.

BYD’s financial success is arguably what inspired Tesla to start thinking about more mainstream EVs, leading to the first Model S.

Just because you haven’t heard of something dosn’t mean it didn’t exist, the BYD investment was big news back then to people who cared about EVs, as are news of any Buffett investments, it’s just that until Tesla came along, most people in the US didn’t care enough about EVs to read the news, which lead to the false impression Tesla “inspired” everyone else, it’s rather insulting if you think about it.

You might as well argue that GM inspired all of it with EV1.

@bob_the_builder said: “No, it’s the other way around… BYD’s financial success is arguably what inspired Tesla to start thinking about more mainstream EVs, leading to the first Model S…”


Tesla had already prior published Tesla’s “Secret Plan”:

“The Secret Tesla Motors Master Plan (just between you and me)… Without giving away too much, I can say that the second model will be a sporty four door family car… and the third model will be even more affordable…” -Elon Musk, Co-Founder & CEO of Tesla Motors August 2, 2006”:

“energy security” for China means “coal”. Lots and lots of coal.

/not that there’s anything wrong with that

@carcis said: ““energy security” for China means “coal”. Lots and lots of coal.”

China views reliance on “coal” for energy a threat to national “energy security” because much of that coal is imported. Which is why China has an aggressive nuclear and solar program in place to eventually displace much of that coal use.

“…The future of nuclear seems to be seated in China. Over the past two decades, the country has been steadily building its nuclear capacity, increasing the number of operating plants from three to more than 40 in 2018, with an additional 18 under construction…

“…Now, the country is the biggest platform in the world for nuclear power, making up more than half of new global nuclear investment and slated to overtake the US in nuclear power production sometime before 2030.”


“China views reliance on “coal” for energy a threat to national “energy security” …”

I guess that explains why they have been building coal fired power plants like mad?

You can’t back your words up with facts, because lies aren’t facts.

“These CHINESE CORPORATIONS are building or planning to build more than 700 new coal plants at home and around the world, some in countries that today burn little or no coal, according to tallies compiled by Urgewald, an environmental group based in Berlin. Many of the plants are in China, but by capacity, roughly a fifth of these new coal power stations are in other countries.

Over all, 1,600 COAL PLANTS are planned or under construction in 62 countries, according to Urgewald’s tally, which uses data from the Global Coal Plant Tracker portal. The new plants would EXPAND THE WORLD’S COAL FIRED CAPACITY BY 43 PERCENT.”

You are posting outdated info again, slimeball!

Here you go, buddy. Guess the satellite images don’t lie, huh?

From Sep 27, 2018:

China to add 259 GW of coal capacity, satellite imagery shows

By analyzing SATELLITE IMAGERY, research group, Coalswarm has found that coal-fired power stations in China totaling 259 GW, which were supposed to have been scrapped, are being built. When fully commissioned, they will reportedly represent the EQUIVALENT OF TOTAL COAL-FIRED CAPACITY IN THE UNITED STATES. Not only does this news go against China’s current push into renewables, but also raises serious air pollution concerns at a time when levels should be decreasing.”

To replace old coal plants with new more efficient and cleaner coal plants. I agree that isn’t ideal but they spent 50% of the world’s total expenditures on renewable energy. They also are proceeding with construction of 8 offshore wind projects with 7.8 GW capacity this year.

China’s coal output hits highest in over 3 years as mines start up

“BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s December coal output climbed 2.1 percent from the year before, government data showed, hitting the highest level in over three years as major miners ramped up production amid robust winter demand and after the country started up new mines.

Is this clean coal or dirty coal?

I looked at the site and they acknowledge that it’s ever difficult to get data from China. They said Peabody said that China was adding 2,000 GW of coal a week and that the EIA said it was much lower. They didn’t say how much the EIA thought it was. Also much of the data is from 2009 -2011.
If your getting your information from Peabody an American coal company and believe that information then your a Climate Change denier.
I’m very skeptical of the site, wouldn’t surprise me that it’s a site created by coal industry lobbyist’s.

What kind of organization is “coalswarm” do you think?

Could be like Cambridge Analytic

all right. That says a lot, right there.

zealotry confirmed

China is number 3 in the world with coal reserves, and ‘far and away’ number 1 in production.

In addition — after the Paris accord — China took advantage of the fire sale and bought up a lot of coal assets in the US, Australia, and elsewhere.

you mean Donald Trumps beautiful ,clean coal???this is the USA….

actually, it’s oil, not coal.

BAIC EC series: $23,400 before subsidies, $8,400 after subsidies. That IS amazing.

The Chinese government is soon going to limit the availability of the subsidy on EV’s. It will be only applicable for Long Range BEV’s. Not sure when exactly that will change, but perhaps already after a few months in 2019, or in 2020.

Already EVs with less then 150km range are excluded from incentives. While 400km+ EVs get extra something.

That’s a smart policy giving subsidies only to the best EV’s.

who pays for subsidies?

Who pays for tariffs?

The people that keep insisting in driving ice. You wanna be on the right side? Buy ev!

““It will be a moon shot for them [China], a hobby for us [USA], and you’ll import your new electric car from China just like you’re now importing your oil from Saudi Arabia.” – Thomas Friedman, 2010”

That quote was from 2010 and since then America has aggressively built-up its domestic oil/natural gas production capacity to the point where its projected that by 2020 America will be a net energy exporter… meaning America is today much less reliant on foreign oil. Also, in the process many American electric power plants have been converted from coal to domestic sourced natural gas… a big step towards making the air more healthy to breathe.

It would be great if America had the same resolve as the Chinese to transition to EVs by framing it more an “energy security”, “manufacturing security “ & “clean air” topic… which is what the Chinese government has done.

As an American it really bugs me to no end watching much of America (mostly those ignorant about EVs or those protecting legacy interests) throw tomatoes at what Tesla is trying to accomplish rather than rally behind Tesla and say: We need more of that for America’s best national interest.

Gas from fracking is usable. Oil, on the other hand, have the wrong composition, and USA requirements for building refineries are so strict that nobody want’s to build correct processing hardware thus USA oil is exported to refineries that can process it, while foreign Oil is imported to USA refineries.

@przemo_li said: “…USA requirements for building refineries are so strict that nobody want’s to build correct processing hardware thus USA oil is exported to refineries that can process it, while foreign Oil is imported to USA refineries..”

Yup… a screwed up thing. If modernized oil refineries were allowed to be built to displace the old refineries it would be better for the environment and better for energy security.

ask to an enviromental genius called Obama the reason

For all the admiration and wish of success i have toward Tesla, which i consider the very best car of the world, i MUST admit it isn’t as flexible and as smart and as easy and as cheap as ICE cars. Refuel a ICE car is easier and less difficult Buy an ICE car is much much much much, do i say much, cheaper Reliability of ICE cars is superb EVs cars aren’t good for any situation, especially when it comes to a territory as large as USA, with such a low density. EVs are perfect in super high density population areas, coastal North America, most of Europe, urbanized Asia; for the rest EVs aren’t an option. China itself isn’t ok for EVs except some coastal area. Of course China is a dictatorship, so when Chinese Communist Party orders to shift to electric cars and for the case electric hat, electric shoes, electric undies, electric pillows.. you must do it. That’s the only reason they are doing, AN ORDER by the dictator, not a shift of consumers. Economically end enviromentally this behaviour has no reason and no base. Economically they must subside all purchases, inflating the largest national deficit in… Read more »

And people wonder why Tesla is in a hurry to start building there…? 😀

So the target for individual manufacturers was reached for industry average in the original year (2018). This also shows that native manufacturers are ahead of the mandate compared to USA/Europe/Asian brands.
2019 will be really interesting to watch. We will see who will have trouble reaching 8% for their fleets.

An interesting piece of information here is the lack of any detectable uptick in Tesla sales despite the “pause” in tariffs and subsequent prices drops, translating into what most likely is another month of large YoY sales drop

If you were wondering if Tesla’s sales drop were due tariffs or boycotts, I think you have your answer.

Pause in tariff took effect January 1. This is 2018 data.

BYD 20%
BAIC 15%

That is an impressive marketshare in a country where there are so many EV manufacturers.

Will BYD and BAIC be able to maintain their marketshare in 2019?

Congratulations China.
181,385 for a month and 1,102,375 for the year is an amazing #.

2017 surprised us with 1 million + worldwide sales.
2018 surprised us with 2 million + worldwide sales and 1 million + China sales.

What’s in store for 2019?
I hope Chinese beat the Japanese automakers in their home market before exporting and fighting against Japanese in other asian markets.

Excellent, they will love their EVs and if they know how to care for the batteries they should last a lifetime too.