China Still Not Jumping on Electric Vehicle Bandwagon, But Sales Are Definitely Inching Up Despite Reports to the Contrary
Every so often, the “electric vehicles are failing in China” topic makes rounds on the Internet. It’s happening again right now, but is that the true story?
A week or so ago, the Detroit Free Press put out a rather slanted article on the failure of electric vehicles in China.
The article included this sentence:
“Fears that China will catapult past the U.S. in the race to put electric vehicles on the road have fizzled.”
As well as this one:
“Despite choking pollution in big Chinese cities, the government faces the same obstacles as the U.S. in the push for electric vehicles: They’re still expensive, many consumers don’t understand them and many drivers don’t have anywhere to charge the batteries.”
And even this:
“In 2012, the Chinese bought 12,791 hybrid and electric vehicles, according to the Chinese Association of Automobile Manufacturers.”
“But the real number of electric vehicles sold in China last year was actually about 3,000, when factoring out hybrids and vehicles that aren’t roadworthy, such as golf carts.”
But we fear the Detroit Free Press got taken for a bit of a ride here. Though that’s the story you’ll read in the Detroit Free Press, is it accurate? We’d say “no” and here’s why: according to China Auto Web, a highly respected source for China-specific automotive information, actual sales data in China is substantially higher than most US media sites seem to report. Here are the 2012 figures posted by China Auto Web:
While doubling the size it was in 2011, the Chinese market for plug-in electric cars remained extremely small last year. According to China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, automakers based in China delivered only about 12,000 high-speed pure electrics (12,085 to be exact) and 1,500 plug-in hybrids in 2012, which, combined, accounted for 0.826% of the 15,495,200 passenger cars sold.
As you can see, the real real number of electric vehicles sold in China last year was 12,085, not the “about 3,000” quoted by the Free Press. In fact, the top-selling electric vehicle in China, the Chery QQ3 EV, sold 5,305 units in 2012. That single model puts the figure past the “about 3,000” mark.
Check out the chart below and you’ll see the point we’re trying to make here.