Excluding Tesla, Global Automakers Demand That China Eases “Impossible” Electric Car Regulations

3 months ago by Mark Kane 65

Buick Velite 5

Car manufacturers aren’t happy with a Chinese policy that sets ambitious quotas for plug in vehicles (AKA New Energy Vehicle) from 2018, and urges some adjustments on aggressive timelines.

Ford Mondeo Energi for China

The new requirements for plug-in sales (as reflected by overall market share) are:

  • 8% in 2018
  • 10% in 2019
  • 12% in 2020

For those manufacturers that don’t reach the targets, there are various penalties, including ultimately being banned from importing and producing non plug-ins.

In a letter to China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, auto manufacturers (almost all of them) says that the targets are “impossible“, and as one might expect, would like them to be eased and/or delayed.

“At a minimum, the mandate needs to be delayed a year and include additional flexibilities.”

The letter was signed by:

  • the American Automotive Policy Council
  • the European Automobile Manufacturers Association
  • the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association
  • the Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association

Of the group, there is of course no Tesla in the pack, as the California EV leader is producing solely electric cars, and they would probably be more than happy to not share the Chinese market with other foreign OEMs.

In June, overall plug-in sales stood for some 2.7% market share – meaning an average 3X increase would be needed over the next 18 months for industry-wide compliance.  No small amount indeed.

Additional reported problems is the lack equal treatment between Chinese and foreign makers (as well as the lack of full subsidies, and a 25% import tax).  Although these issues are longer running, and effect both petrol and electric offerings.

source: Reuters

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65 responses to "Excluding Tesla, Global Automakers Demand That China Eases “Impossible” Electric Car Regulations"

  1. speculawyer says:

    Oh shut the f#*k up, ya lazy crybabies. They are trying to reduce pollution and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. As long as the rules apply to everyone equally, you’ve got no legitimate complaint. Suck it up and get to work.

    And better yet, adopt such regs in your own country.

    1. SparkEV says:

      Get to work is the problem. When public charging is always clogged, they won’t be able to convince people to drive EV. We can talk all about the convenience of home charging and that public charging is rarely used, but once the public find out about 2 hours wait, it’s a no go.

      Heck, I’m a huge EV fan for just for EV sake (no ties to climate change), yet I have hard time swallowing EV these days. Unless public charging issue is addressed, legacy carmakers can’t compete in EV other than niche.

      1. Nick says:

        Agree!

        The manufacturers need to get on it! Roll out more public charging. It costs so little to do.

        1. SparkEV says:

          Tesla offered to open up superchargers to legacy makers, but they refused and instead came up with their own standard, CCS. What this tells me is that they don’t want the competitor to benefit in any way.

          If they put in more CCS, it will not only benefit their cars, but the competitors as well. If they sell fewer EV than their competitors, much of that benefit go to the competitors. Politically, this isn’t a solution they’ll risk. I suspect this is one reason why GM is staying out of charging infrastructure.

          They could make the cost more for competitors EV, but then they’ll still be blamed for high cost. It’s no win situation for legacy carmakers. EV belong to Tesla.

          1. john Doe says:

            Tesla joined the other automakers in march 2016, in agreeing to promote CCS and the step from 50kWh, to 150kWh and to 350kWh in 2017.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Combined_Charging_System

            Maybe they will make an adapter and get a bigger charging network?

      2. Chris O says:

        PHEVs qualify as well so no need for charging. There is a reason PHEVs are popular in this high-rise nation: they qualify for incentives but no need to ever plug in.

        1. SparkEV says:

          “no need to ever plug in”

          And that is the problem with PH. With lack of chargers and dense Chinese cities (unable to charge at home), they will simply drive on gas all the time. Given the high cost of batteries (money and environment), gasser would be far better.

          I’d go as far as to say remove all incentives for PH unless it can be shown that they drive on electric. That will be far more difficult than putting in chargers.

          1. Yves says:

            If they need more chargers, the chinese government can put them in no time, I saw some documentary where they build bridges in no time

      3. Samwise says:

        If your trying to drive to work in any major asian city your doing it wrong…
        This is not a policy in issolation it is part of a whole suite of measures to improve conditions in Chinese cities and also includes absolutely massive investments in trains and other public transit systems country wide.

    2. Dave86 says:

      I’ve been reading and occasionally posting at this website for a very long time, and your post is the best one I’ve read.

      Well done.

      +1,000,000

    3. Mint says:

      You forgot the biggest allure of plugins for China: slash oil dependency.

      To be fair, though, 8% in 2018 is kinda nuts. A one year delay is reasonable, as the big automakers still have a ridiculous amount of work to do to hit 8% in 2019.

    4. Vexar says:

      That was beautiful, speculawyer. There’s nothing more to say.

    5. Chris O says:

      It’s unrealistic to expect that sort of percentages to be realised without sufficient prep time. This will fail.

      1. Samwise says:

        Except that China is not a free market so it won’t. If they can unilaterally tell you what days your allowed to drive your car (which they have already done on occassion) they can sure aas hell tell manufacturers to produce more EVs or leave the market.

      2. menorman says:

        They’ve had sufficient prep time, they’ve just been dragging their feet.

    6. Oswald says:

      EVs in China are not cleaner than petrol vehicles. They clean local emissions in the city but net a larger number of emissions for the country due to the coal power plants which operate without scrubbers. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0306261917305433

  2. WadeTyhon says:

    More reason to introduce the Bolt-based Buick EV within the next year!

    I think the Buick Velite should come to the US. Chevy could begin production of a crossover/suv Volt.

    Bolt+Encore EV+Velitte+ Volt Crossover would make for a pretty good lineup. 🙂

  3. speculawyer says:

    Early 2010s: Waaaaah! China pollutes too much!

    Late 2010s: Waaaaah! China won’t pollute enough!

    1. Just_Chris says:

      +1 what are wel going to do when China gets the majority of its power from wind, solar and hydro?

      1. Doggydogworld says:

        If China’s so serious about renewables why are they building all those new coal plants?

        1. Mark.ca says:

          Preservation purposes….they will be shipped to museums after they finished.

        2. Someone out there says:

          Because China is a socialist, planned economy country. When the Party says “we need more energy, build coal plants” everyone starts building like crazy. When the next 5 year plan then says “whoa, maybe all that coal wasn’t such a good idea after all. Build solar!” people are still in the process of building coal plants. When the market is controlled by dictates and not demand you get a ton of overbuild and huge swings. Chinese coal plants are already operating at below 50% capacity but it takes time to turn a ship the size of China.

          Planned economies are inefficient and a huge reason why socialism doesn’t work.

  4. Bul_gar says:

    China can change it 7-10-15%. 🙂

    1. Yup! That is like giving them all a 12.5% Break, for next year, allowing them to tweak their current offerings!

      They could bring the Volt there, but with a Smaller Battery (@ 2.88 Miles per kWh, 14 kWh would do the trick: ~4.4 kWh Less), to make it a better 5 seater with foot room, and still give 40+ Miles EV Range!

      I would like to see them build a Geo Metro sized or based EV, with ~100 Miles EV Range, 4 seats, to beat the Smart ED at its own Game! I bet it could get by on 28 kWh usable, and still make 100 EV Miles! It could be lower priced than the IONIQ!

      They coul even make a Bolt EV for them, but with just 40 kWh/150-170 Miles EV Range, to make it more affordable, and for each 2 they now build, they would end up with Batteries for 3!

      Creating a Station Wagon EV might be a marketable EV in China, as well as Micro Cars, like the Japanese KEI Cars, as EV’s, these could sell well in China, too! (Just work in a deal with TATA Motors to build that, for them!)

      They could also identify what EV’s ARE Selling the Most in China, and move in that direction!

  5. Bul_gar says:

    China can change it 7, 10 & 15%. 🙂

    1. Yup! A 12.5% Break for Yr.1 (1% of 8% Less); Even-Steven for Yr.2; then, an Extra 25% Bump Up for the third year, from 12 to 15%, for 3% Higher, just for their Whining!

  6. ffbj says:

    Boo Hoo! You’ve got me crying for you. (not)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S6CZKVGSb1E

  7. Prad Bitt says:

    Climate criminals!

    1. So THAT is what the CC stands for in CCS!

  8. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    Dear legacy auto makers:

    Just stop whining. You’ve seen the handwriting on the wall for years. You know that gasmobiles will soon be obsolete, and that EVs are the car of the future. You’ve been doing everything in your power to put off the day that happens, including bribery lobbying in Federal and State legislatures, and promoting the “hydrogen economy” hoax, but surely you realize that’s just delaying the inevitable.

    If any of you auto makers find it too difficult to conform to the Chinese mandate for selling zero-emissions cars, then stop selling cars in China. I’m sure other companies will be glad to take your market share.

    Sincerely, Pushmi-Pullyu

    1. P-P, you are so kind! You made an Easy Button for them! Just Leave! ;÷)

      And you solved Much of China’s Problems, with your suggested solution, too! %÷)

    2. Lad says:

      I understand that charging is a major problem in China, especially in the cities where people live in density housing; however, “Invention is the Mother of Necessity” and China has a pollution problem that necessitates bold thinking and actions. If anything, China should increase the requirements in favor of reducing the number of Chinese people dying because of pollution and I favor the idea of immediately installing Public charging. How about for every ICEV they sell,they fund 5, 10,or more charge stations.

      The pollution industries will delay as long as they can to meeting their profit numbers by continuing to sell dirty, obsolete cars.

      I say; “times a wasting,” get on with it and stop make up excuses, you have lost the battle to delay further; make the transition.

  9. KM says:

    There were 28 mln cars sold in China last year. If automakers were hoping to sell similar numbers in 2018 then with 8% electric they would need to sell 2.2 mln next year.
    No wonder Chinese companies went shopping and invested in AESC among others. With such targets they will need every factory they can get.
    Would be cool to see similar targets in Europe rather than German auto makers dictating governments what policies to implement.
    Why is Europe so relaxed about pollution and oil dependency?

    1. Because they are good at ‘Keeping on, Keeping on!’

      Change is hard, but unless they experienced a Shool Burning Down, they don’t have any idea how to change, suddenly! (I was only out of School for a few days, as we quickly found alternate space, and aquired desks for teachers and kids, & chairs!)

      The change they will find themselves making to suit Chinese Markets, could suit them well back home and in other markets, giving them a leg up, but they can’t see that potential benefit!

    2. William says:

      Europe is relaxed about pollution and their need/addiction for continued ongoing oil combustion in personal transportation vehicles, due to heavy Middle East ownership and lobbying of officials and their public policy agenda. Automobile manufacturers need to help endorse and keep the status quo, to perpetuate the ongoing viscous cycle of revenue extraction. When the interdependence of the two, begins to significantly, and negatively hit the bottom line of the Middle East sovereign oil monarchies, then the current Syrian migration debacle and problem, will look like a mere oil drop, in the proverbial 55 gallon drum/bucket.

      1. trololo says:

        Sadly, I think you have got it right.

        Since 3 years, the list of pure EVs, non compliance cars is almost unchanged (I consider FCA, Ford & GM EVs has compliance cars):
        *) BMW i3
        *) Kia Soul EV
        *) Nissan Leaf
        *) Renault ZOE
        *) VW e-Up & e-Golf.
        *) Tesla Model S

        All those models got battery pack update(s), and 3 new models appeared:
        *) Hyundai IONIQ Electric
        *) Tesla Model X & 3.

        And we have got 1 and a half car makers really dedicated to EVs: Tesla & the other half, Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi.

        Things are moving so slowly.

        1. menorman says:

          You consider GM’s EVs to be “compliance cars” but not the e-Golf?

          1. trololo says:

            According to InsideEVs (http://insideevs.com/facelifted-volkswagen-e-golf-to-debut-next-month/), the e-Golf is supposed to be available nation wide in the US.
            In Europe, the e-Golf can be bought outside Norway, which is not the case of the Bolt.

            You can remove the e-Golf from my list, it will not changed what I have stated: things are moving desperately slowly in the EV field.

            1. SparkEV says:

              More of this compliance car nonsense.

              SparkEV was announced to be available in Europe, never happened. Announcing doesn’t mean it will happen. But it was sold in Canada, Mexico, Korea, place where compliance wasn’t required.

              But if you assume “compliance car” as something not available everywhere,

              Zoe isn’t available in US.
              VW + SoulEV aren’t nation wide.
              Leaf, Tesla, i3 are not world wide (not available in North Korea)

              Basically everything’s compliance car if you take such broad definition.

              Fact is, only compliance BEV today are Fiat 500e and Clarity EV, because they are only sold in compliance mandated states and nowhere else. It used lot more, but the list has shrunk. That’s a good thing.

    3. V2 says:

      One would think that the overall more efficient vehicles (anecdotally much smaller than the US) makes it easier to ramp up EV sales faster, as for the most part EVs are smaller themselves nowadays. Wonder if there are reliable figures for MPG / l/100km avaraged=s between the US and across Europe.

  10. jaymac says:

    Has any one seen video of the air in Chinese metro regions ?
    China is making life or death decisions here. More power to them and I hope they don’t back down to corporate insanity and greed.
    Too bad our leadership looks so retro-ignorant by comparison with Scott Pruitt at EPA as a big middle finger to the world.
    Surprisingly, a large portion of the world’s population appreciates safe food, clean water and breathable air.

  11. trackdaze says:

    Imagine theyll just sell less Ice to get to 8% by pumping discounts into ice vehicles late this year and staggering electric sales november december for sale next year.

    And at the end of 2018 they will stall ice and bring forward electrics.

    Still think it will be a stretch for many though.

  12. Don says:

    In 20 years, new ICE vehicles will be made for rich guys only … !!!

    1. Loboc says:

      More like seven years. Exponential growth will make these small numbers easily attainable.

      Just adjust the product mix and pricing. When ICE doubles in price, the law of unforeseen consequences will hit like a hammer.

  13. Nada says:

    Legacy auto makers have a very legitamate conceren here as giving less than 1 years time is not enough in a manufacturing envirment where millions are produced…
    Would like to see China increase the mandate every year though till it hits 100% say 2025 or 2030 latest not the irevelant France and UK 2040 timeline…

    1. menorman says:

      The policy wasn’t announced yesterday. They have at least 18 months from today to meet the goals and even long from the original announcement.

  14. Just_Chris says:

    I love it European, us and Japanese manufacturers have just asked the Chinese government to change the rules to remove the advantage that Chinese manufacturers have worked hard to establish.

  15. romboiii says:

    @Mark Kane, regarding the 8% in 2018, original Reuters article quote “…to generate credits equivalent to 8 percent of total sales by 2018…” is incorrectly cited as “…plug-in sales (as reflected by overall market share) 8% …”. Required market shares will be around 1.6-4%, depending on the type of xEV sold (PHEV, short-range BEV, long-range BEV). Please correct.

    1. Some Guy says:

      That’s true, a system similar to ZEV. And more importantly, the 100% domestic Chinese manufacturers will make the goals (some may need some internal trading of credits but they already have the production capacity). As for the JVs with western companies or 100% import ICE cars it is threee options: Start making EVs already, or start paying a hefty fine, or go away and die.

      No way that the regulations are weakened by a year (and then another and another…). The only thing that Chinese government will do is to promise to be “thinking about it” or “considering it”. In the West that usually means “sure thing, we change it as the automotive masters wish, who cares about the health of our citizens “. In China it means “Look at those stupid foreign fools that produce ICE, they see what’s on the horizon and complain. So let’s tell them something that will make them believe we ease the regulations, so they loose another year in catching up to EVs while postponing their research, and then hit them hard on their home marketes with our strengthened EV industry in just a few years…”

      1. super390 says:

        All the big foreign players in China have partnerships with Chinese companies already. So if the partner can make EVs, they can be rebadged as Buicks or Volkswagens well before we see EVs from those brands elsewhere. Get to work on the quality control, boys.

    2. Benz says:

      So, it’s not simply 8% for 2018?

      Please explain with more details.

  16. Christian says:

    China won’t go back. They wanna be ev market leader and their local manufactures are doing just fine. What can the other car makers do? Increase price of fossil fueled cars and discount EVs instead until it balances out. If people wanna buy the old stinkers they should pay for it – pay the price for killing people. it’s like a carbon value added tax:) I hope China won’t change its mind. even better if Europe and the U.S would follow.

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      I don’t think the Chinese government has the slightest incentive or motive to accede to the Western auto makers’ request. From their point of view, if the foreign auto makers can’t keep up with the pace of change, then that’s all the better as it will leave more room for domestic Chinese auto makers to increase their market share.

      Let’s keep in mind that China has always been, even back in the pre-Communist days of Imperial China, actively hostile to foreign imports competing with their domestic goods. Call it protectionism on steroids. There’s absolutely no sign that this is going to change.

  17. Gazz says:

    Who’s 2018? Christian calendar of Chinese one?

  18. Terawatt says:

    I hope the Chinese government, unlike nearly all of the West, has the backbone to stand by its requirements.

    That said, there really is no reason why the requirements couldn’t have been decided and presented years earlier.

    If they decide to accommodate auto makers in any way they should simply reduce the 2018 target to 5% and hold the others unchanged, while at the same time making it very clear they won’t stand for this nonsense again in a year’s time.

    They also should announce much tougher targets for the years following, and do so NOW so nobody can say they didn’t have time to adapt.

    It must also be said it is a very strange growth curve the requirements describe, with slower growth for each passing year at the early stage of the S-curve! From 2017 to 18 they demand 300% growth, but then only 25% and 20% in the next two years. Perhaps they should instead ask for 5%, 10%, 20% – demanding a doubling each of the the years in the period, and achieving more sooner. Let’s see how the auto makers like that!

    1. Doggydogworld says:

      You are confusing “cars” with “credits”. Read the Reuters article. It’s nowhere near a 3x jump in one year. Also note:

      “Beijing also sees the policy as a means to help the domestic car industry to compete with foreign rivals….”

      “Although Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and German Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed last month that concessions would be made, the ministry later released draft regulations upholding the strict sales quotas.”

      Translation. Beijing gave global automakers a relaxed schedule, but quietly told domestic automakers to stick to the original plan. Now the domestics have a huge advantage (shocking, isn’t it?).

      “Currently foreign carmakers are excluded from getting full subsidies for new energy vehicles and batteries, leaving manufacturers such as Tesla (TSLA.O) at a disadvantage.”

      If this was really about clean air, instead of favoring Chinese companies over outsiders, a Tesla would get the same credits as any other EV. Or at least get some credits. Instead, they get ZERO credits and get slapped with a punitive 25% tariff. Which China was supposed to have phased out by now under the global trade treaties that gave them virtually unlimited access to western markets.

      This is just typical Chinese “screw the foreigners” trade policy, dressed up in green propaganda.

      1. super390 says:

        And yet they will win, and have the green cars first, and the foreign carmakers will comply because their Western shareholders are too greedy to derail the ongoing betrayal of their own nations’ working citizens. By which time climate effects will be so severe that Western states will be banning ICE and have to find a big supply of EVs in a hurry.

        Bismarck himself could not have carried out a more elegant industrial strategy.

        1. Timothy Hughbanks says:

          …and the Republican party, owned by fossil fuel interests, will gladly assist in bringing their policy to fruition.

  19. Prsnep says:

    Demand? I don’t think you demand anything from the Chinese government. You politely ask.

  20. orinoco says:

    Nobody expects the Spanish inquisition!
    And after the EV1 scandal, after Tesla was founded and started making BEVs, Nissan producing BEVs since 2010, the success of the Model S since 2013, nobody could expect that someday electric cars would be significant.
    Have mercy with the needy ICE car makers!

  21. Martin T. says:

    Car manufactures groups are upset?
    Oh good, China must be doing the RIGHT thing.
    Don’t budge an inch China, things can happen when they need to 😉

  22. arne-nl says:

    Silly regulation, drawn up by civil servants that have no mathematical talent at all. It is based on linear growth, while growth is exponential.

    Growing market share from 2.7% -> 8% is 200% growth from one year to the next. Then suddenly growth drops off to 25% (8%->10%) and 20% (10%->12%), which seems on the low side.

    Based on a current market share of 2.7%, how about doubling it each year? So instead of:
    2.7% -> 8% -> 10% -> 12%
    More something like:
    2.7% –> 5% –> 10% -> 20%

    That feels a whole lot more natural and achievable.

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