Tiny electric vehicles, more appropriately known as either neighborhood electric vehicles or low-speed electric vehicles, are big business in China.
These golf cart-ish electrics aren't really suitable for the roads, but it's still legal to drive them on most paved surfaces around the world, but they can't yet be licensed in China.
That isn't preventing Chinese automakers from pumping up NEV production.
The Shandong Automobile Manufacturers’ Association says that production of NEVs in China was at only 18,221 units in 2010. That number jumped to 68,203 in 2011 and then surged to 86,709 in 2012. It's expected that 2013 production of NEVs will far exceed 100,000 units. Most of these China-built NEVs are exported.
Beyond 2013, NEV production will explode in China. New investments of RMB 15 billion ($ 2.4 billion US) by at least 4 automakers in China will see NEV production soar past 550,000 units annually in the next few years.
These automakers are upping NEV production based on the assumption that China's Ministry of Industry & Information Technology will soon allow NEVs to be registered within the county. If that happens, then the NEV boom is on for sure.