This Country Is Leading The Way For EV Sales - SUV VEHICLE

This Country Is Leading The Way For EV Sales


The people have spoken (in one country at least), and said “Get this finicky engine out of our cars!” The future of cars involves neither exhaust headers nor aftermarket intake manifolds, and it is coming a lot faster to China than it is to the rest of the world. China leads the world in electrified vehicle sales. This has caused a lot of boardroom excitement as various companies try to establish a “market presence” (as they say) in the most profitable country for electrified vehicles.




As a brief semantic note, the terms “electrified vehicle” and “electric vehicle” are not interchangeable. The term “electric vehicles” refers to purely battery-powered ones. “Electrified vehicle” is a catch-all term for BEVs, hybrids, FCEVs, and any other vehicle that has a large electric motor somewhere in the powertrain.

In order to give you the most up-to-date and accurate information possible, the data used to compile this article was sourced from various manufacturer websites and other authoritative sources, including Hughes Engines, BloombergNEF, Autovista24, and MotorTrend.


China Purchases More EVs Than Any Other Country


  • The people of China purchased more EVs in the previous year than any other country in the world.
  • Europe and North America came in second and third, respectively.
  • A lot of new EV manufacturers have sprung up in China to meet demand.

Of course, China has the second-highest population of any country in the world. It’s easy to claim that a country with so many people will naturally need a lot of cars (electric or otherwise). But India, the most populous country in the world, ranks far below China in EV sales. Indeed, India didn’t even get its own mention in the statistical analysis. Instead, India is included in the “rest of the world” group (which makes up a very small portion of EV purchases). So, although it’s tempting to state that China is buying so many EVs because so many people live there, population alone is not the biggest factor.


Europe Is The Second-Biggest EV Buyer, And North America Comes In Third Place

2024 Hyundai Kona Electric Front Three Quarter Topspeed-1
William Clavey | TopSpeed

China isn’t merely the world’s top purchaser of EVs. It is the biggest EV buyer by a wide margin. Europe is the second-biggest market. North America falls in third place, purchasing about one-fourth as many EVs as China. Interestingly, while North America as a whole makes up a small (but respectable) chunk of EV sales, the U.S. market was not deemed noteworthy enough to separate out from Mexico and Canada. However, South Korea and Japan were both significant enough to be listed separately from the rest of Asia.

For the purpose of this analysis, EV sales not in any of the above regions are consolidated into the “rest of the world.” This includes South America, Australia, Africa, and (as aforementioned) India. Sales in these areas were simply too small to list individually.


China’s EV Growth Has Spawned Many New Manufacturers

With the rising demand for EVs within its own borders, it should be no surprise that a lot of EV manufacturers are based in China.

For those who prefer a traditional low-riding high-performance “enthusiast coupe,” Karma Automotive has picked up where the first company called Fisker Automotive left off. Karma has little connection with the current Fisker Incorporated. After Henrik Fisker’s first attempt to strike out on his own collapsed, a Chinese company bought the failed company’s remains. Under the name of Karma (which was Fisker’s flagship model), this company continues to put out cars based on Fisker Automotive’s designs.


On the opposite end of the price/prestige spectrum, Changli produces what may be the world’s cheapest EV. Its vehicles are about the size of a BMW Isetta, tend to have top speeds around 28 mph (45 km/h), and curb weights in the neighborhood of 550 pounds. In other words, some of Changli’s models are lighter than the V-8 engine from a 1999 Dodge Ram (assuming the Dodge owner opted for the 5.2-liter version).


And of course, for those who neither want ultra-luxury nor ultra-cheap, there is an ample selection of China-based EV manufacturers whose vehicles are neither sporty to the point of uselessness nor punitively cheap. BYD (the initials stand for “Build Your Dreams”) is making the sort of vehicles Tesla would produce if it wasn’t hampered by a dark gray “tech bro” aesthetic. Xpeng has been making the sort of middle-of-the-road vehicles that, to the eternal disdain of purists, continue to be popular among those who actually show up at dealerships with open wallets. (It can be hard to fit one’s groceries into a supercar.)

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EVs May Soon Dominate Chinese Roads

Nio ET9
Nio

  • Thirty-seven percent of new cars sold in China last year were electrified.
  • Elsewhere around the world, people hesitate to buy EVs. The biggest reasons for this are battery-induced short driving ranges and price.
  • Tesla has become the standard-bearer for EVs. Its recent public embarrassments may be hurting EV sales across the industry.


China’s EV surge is part of a broader rise in vehicle purchases. However, EVs make up a bigger portion of new car sales in China than in many other areas. In 2023, 37-percent of cars sold in China were electrified. That is almost two out of every five cars sold in the second most populous country on Earth. This may mean that China can skip the painful “emissions eras” that other countries had to endure. After all, if nearly half of their cars produce no exhaust, then the entire country can pretend that finicky EGR valves never happened.

Battery Constraints And Price Keep People In Other Countries Away From EVs

Nio Battery Swap render
Nio


Of course, one might wonder why the rest of the world is comparatively hesitant to let the internal combustion engine go the way of the horse-cart. However, people aren’t married to internal combustion for tradition’s sake. (Well, most people aren’t.) According to TopSpeed’s own readers, driving range and price are the main reasons people still want to keep an internal combustion engine in the driveway. Luxury and the latest technological gadgetry may look good on brochures, but those apparently aren’t the best way for automakers to woo money out of wallets. EVs will sell as soon as they can meet the needs of car buyers.

Tesla’s Recent PR Woes May Be Bad News For The EV Industry

Tesla Cybertruck towing and cruising down a highway
Tesla


Tesla’s recent PR misfires may be slowing down EV sales. To Tesla’s credit, it was the first EV manufacturer to get people to actually buy them. Just as the Toyota Prius is the standard-bearer for hybrid cars, Tesla has become most people’s default image for electric cars. Unfortunately for EVs in general and Tesla in particular, the company’s CEO/mascot Elon Musk has become a bit of a PR liability in the last few years.

On top of Musk’s colorful recent history with Twitter (which he continues to try to rebrand as X), things at Tesla have been looking less than ideal. Most notably, the Tesla project nearest and dearest to Elon Musk’s heart, the Cybertruck, has been a corporate embarrassment. From the rust on its signature stainless steel body panels to the safety recalls, the Cybertruck has brought embarrassment to a company that was already running short on PR goodwill.


Unfortunately for everyone else, Tesla is to EVs what the Prius is to hybrids. Like it or not, when most people think of EVs, they think of Tesla, despite its latest product suffering from recalls. And, it’s harder to sell an electric car when it comes with a mental image of Elon Musk frantically posting on Twitter (or X, if one prefers) in the middle of the night.

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The Latest Developments In China’s EV Industry

BYD Blade Battery
BYD

  • China’s domestic vehicle industry as a whole is relatively young. This includes its EV manufacturers.
  • China’s biggest EV and battery producers have formed a consortium to develop solid-state EV batteries, which are a long-pursued dream across the auto industry.
  • Chinese EV manufacturer Nio has achieved the groundbreaking feat of actually getting a semi-solid-state EV battery onto public roads. It drove a car with a semi-SSB for 648 miles on a single charge.


Right now may be a bad time for Tesla, but it is a good time to sell EVs in China. The Chinese EV industry may still be in its earliest days, but it is already primed to overtake the rest of the world. China’s auto industry is in a particularly advantageous place. New car sales in China really didn’t take off until the early 1990s. This means that Chinese companies aren’t as bogged down by decades of boardroom decay. As a result, several compelling ventures are coming out of China.

CASIP: China’s Consortium To Develop Solid-State EV Batteries

BYD Seal
BYD


China’s biggest EV and battery manufacturers, along with a few relevant government agencies, have recently formed a solid-state battery consortium. As its name implies, the China All-Solid-State Battery Collaborative Innovation Platform (CASIP for short) is focused on researching solid-state EV batteries. Although CASIP is still a new organization, it has already affected automakers outside of China’s borders. CASIP member CATL, which has been Tesla’s longtime battery supplier, announced that it will sever all relations with the Cybertruck manufacturer. CATL will help Tesla build its own battery factory and provide much of the tooling. But as soon as that battery factory opens, CATL will leave Tesla behind and follow its fellow CASIP members into the solid-state future.

Nio Has Actually Road-Tested A Semi-Solid State Battery

2023 Nio ET7 rear view while driving
Nio


It may be easy to doubt that CASIP will amount to anything. After all, even major companies like Toyota have been working on SSBs for over a decade with little to show for it. However, CASIP members Nio and its battery supplier WeLion have already achieved what no one else has done: gotten solid-state batteries onto the road. Or, to be pedantically correct, Nio has road-tested a battery that contains solid-state electrolytes.

Nio put a semi-solid-state battery into one of its sedans and drove 649 miles on a single charge. The entire journey was live-streamed, and the CEO personally took the wheel. At the end of this journey, the battery still had three-percent of its charge. No other automaker has gotten a solid-state battery onto public roads.

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The Global Rise Of EVs

BYD Han
BYD


EV sales have taken off around the world. While growth may be leveling off, annual sales remain significantly higher than they were a decade ago. At this point, only the staunchest of deniers can claim that EVs are a fad. While China may be leading the world into the electrified future, everyone else will eventually catch up and leave their engines behind.

Driving Range Remains EVs’ Biggest Hurdle

For now, driving range remains the biggest reason why people hesitate to get an EV. It may be tempting to speculate that people like to pretend that they will someday leave their routines and commutes behind and traverse those romantically lonely country roads. After all, most EVs tend to get at least 200 miles per charge, and few people drive more than that per day. Additionally, every new model year brings more EVs with long ranges.


But perhaps a more reasonable explanation for range anxiety is that ICE cars are more forgiving of owners who are less than diligent about refueling them. If someone forgets to recharge an EV, that car is out of commission for several hours. However, if someone lets the fuel tank get close to empty, refilling it is a short errand. (Of course, neither EVs nor ICE cars give any grace to owners who let them go completely empty.)

China’s EV Manufacturers Are Already Expanding To Other Countries

BYD Yangwang U7
BYD Yangwang

It is unrealistic to imagine that China’s EV industry will remain confined to its own borders. Chinese automakers are already branching out to the rest of the world. BYD has already begun sales in Europe. It also has a website aimed at prospective car buyers in the U.S. Changli may not have any US dealerships, but it allows American customers to order one of their vehicles shipped to them. EVs are already taking over Chinese roads. Don’t be surprised if Chinese EVs take up parking lots everywhere else.




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