Tesla Board Member Steve Jurvetson: In 2013, The Chinese Bought 37 Million Electric Vehicles


Steve Jurvetson With World's First Tesla Model S

Steve Jurvetson With World’s First Tesla Model S

Steve Jurvetson - Board Member Of Both Tesla & SpaceX Was a Featured Speaker At TMC Connect

Steve Jurvetson – Board Member Of Both Tesla & SpaceX Was a Featured Speaker At TMC Connect

Did you know that China leads the world in electric vehicle adoption?

As long as we define electric vehicles to include two- and three-wheelers, China is easily the world leader.

As Tesla board member Steve Jurvetson told the crow at the TMC Connect summer symposium in Monterey, California, China has more than 200 million electric vehicle drivers.  37 million of those drivers made the EV purchase last year alone.  Jurvetson says that by next year, China will have more EV drivers than the total number of drivers in the United States.

Where’s the EV boom coming from?  According to Jurvetson, the 2002 epidemic of the SARS virus created the boom.  Mass-transit was deemed unsafe, so the Chinese began purchasing 1-hp electric scooters for $200 to $450 dollars.

So, if we include two- and three-wheelers in the mix, then the U.S. is no longer the world’s leader in EV adoption, not even close in fact.  China, along with several other Asian countries, spring ahead of the U.S. with ease due to their amazing uptake of electric scooter, mopes, trikes and so on.

We’ll now leave you with this quote from Jurvetson:

“In 2010 I was speaking to a room full of executives from Castrol, a $10 billion-a-year company. All they do is make products that work in internal combustion engines — that’s 100 percent of their business.  What I told them that day is that they’re essentially working for a buggy whip company. I told them I feel like I have a sixth sense: I see dead people.”

Source: Monterey Herald

Categories: Tesla

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14 Comments on "Tesla Board Member Steve Jurvetson: In 2013, The Chinese Bought 37 Million Electric Vehicles"

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Yes, it will be an interesting *twist* when the oil companies hedge their bets into other energy sectors. It’s already happening actually. So I don’t think they are too worried. Home solar would put more of a scare into them.


You can’t hedge your bets with natural gas or coal (I assume that’s what you’re talking about). You only need about 3c of those fuels per kWh, i.e. 1c/mile. Gas cars need 6-20c/mile of wholesale gasoline.

The real reason oil companies aren’t worried is that it’ll be decades before EVs take over the market, and developing countries will replace the loss of first world demand even then.


No, I was talking about renewables.


A couple cents more per kWh in the long term for renewables doesn’t change my point.

EVs simply use a much cheaper energy commodity as fuel and much less of it to boot. There’s now way for oil companies to benefit from them (unless they produce batteries and get marketshare).

The real way oil companies will hedge slow losses from EV adoption is by selling to new customers where EVs can’t compete (due to smaller and cheaper cars in markets that can’t handle long payback times).


Oil companies provide energy. That is their business. As energy demand changes, they will adapt their business. That is what I see happening. I don’t see them throwing in the towel any time soon.

Micke Larsson

Fracking? Coal with CCS? Hydrogen based vehicles like fuel cells?

There are plenty of “renewables” to hedge your bet on… 😉


Internal combustion will have a significant presence for a while – certainly 10 years out, likely 20, possibly 30.

A drop in ICE usage is partly self-limiting; higher prices lead to more economical vehicle selection at replacement time leads to reduction in the rate of increase of fuel consumption leads to a reduction in the increase of demand leads to a reduction in the rate of increase of fuel prices.

If ICE usage drops enough – whether through conversion to BEV and PHEV or simply more efficient closed-loop ICE vehicles – then the reductions in the rate of increase of fuel demand and prices will increase to the point that absolute global fuel demand begins to drop. At this point expensive oil production techniques (shale) will begin to taper down, and new oil starts will likely not be approved until demand increases.

We’ve already seen this in the US. Improvements in fuel economy, [according to this analysis](http://www.theoildrum.com/node/9811), are responsible for about a quarter of the reduction in fuel consumption since 2004. A reduction in the number of miles driven, partly due to higher fuel prices and partly due to the US recession, are responsible for the rest.


Don’t forget legislature. If cities start banning ICEs, you will see their use drop significantly.


Yes, they buy zillions of electric bikes. But there is a backlash to this and when they buy a car they want a REAL (read: gasoline) car not an electric on like those peasants on their electric bikes ride.


KANDI seems to be doing well though.

(I should have bought some at $5/share)

Micke Larsson

There is still time to buy. They have a paved way for the company for at least a year or two.

Micke Larsson

Nah, they want a premium western car to show how far they have gone in the world.
An imported Tesla (which all are since they don’t have a factory in China yet) is a great choice for that.

But a Venucia e30 (chinese branded Leaf) will hardly be the end goal for the chinese since it neither gives western glow nor is premium.

One of the things that I have always wondered about is the whole “when the Chinese and Indian population want western life styles (they generally actually mean American life styles) we will run out of everything” statements that are continuously batted around, mainly by economists in relation to the vital importance of “growth” (never mention Japan or the fact that economic growth doesn’t have to mean more stuff). Why would the Chinese want to be American? Yes they might want a Tesla, but I’d like an Aston Martin, I still drive a Yaris, and even if I could afford one I don’t think I could ever buy an Aston Martin not because it isn’t green but because I couldn’t spend that amount of money on a car, would my sons be able to hand over that amount of money for a car? I’m not sure, expectation is a two way street my sons will probably expect to own a car but they will most likely expect that car to cost less than 20% of the salary. What does a Chinese boy expect to get to work in? There will obviously be those in China who desperately want a big fat… Read more »

Asbestos producers didn’t run out of raw material, they run out of countries allowing their products and customers buying them.