Record Electric Vehicle Sales In China
While the overall Chinese auto market is slowly picking up (+12% year over year in November), plugin vehicles are already on the fast lane, growing by 138% year over year (YoY) to a record 198,000 units. This time, plugin hybrids (PHEVs) grew faster than full electrics (BEVs) — +164% versus +134%.
Despite this uptick from plugin hybrids, however, BEVs still own 80% of the plugin vehicle (PEV) market.
Last month, the plugin share reached a record 8.6% (7.2% BEV), pulling the 2020 share to 5.9% (4.7% BEV), a half percent increase that has finally pulled 2020’s figure over the 2019 result of 5.5%.
With December set to create yet another record score, expect the year’s final PEV share to end north of the 6% mark. But this is only the beginning, as next year we should see a few months of two-digit market share, preparing for disruption to finally set in by 2022 … in the largest automotive market in the world And once we get to that point, then it’s game over for ICE (internal combustion engines).
Looking at November best sellers, we have 3 cities EVs, confirming the return of small EVs to the spotlight, with the Wuling EV keeping its Best Seller title.
A big name for a small car, the Wuling EV scored 33,094 registrations last month, its 5th record score in a row, meaning that the production ramp-up is continuing, and expect the tiny four-seater to grow even further in December.
The reason for this tremendous success? It is one of the cheapest EVs on the market ($4,200!!!), and yet, it’s not all that bad, as the SAIC-GM–Wuling joint-venture model can seat 4 people in a car that is a tad larger (2,917 mm / 114.8 in) than a Smart Fortwo EV.
The range is not brilliant (the smaller-battery version has a 9.2 kWh battery, and the top-spec version has a 13.8 kWh battery), and neither is the motor (27 hp), but it has only 665 kg curb weight to carry around and is highway capable. In order to have the $4,200 price, without subsidies, one can’t expect miracles. At this price level, the Wuling EV is a disruptive force in urban mobility, not only against 4-wheeled private transportation but also against 2 and 3-wheelers.
This EV is becoming a game-changer in China and should do the same elsewhere if it manages to expand to overseas markets.
The poster child for electric mobility hit a record 21,606 units last month, with Tesla’s midsize now almost exclusively made locally.
Only 2 units came from Fremont, California. With December usually being the highest peak of the year in this market, will we see the Model 3 reach some 25,000 units in December?
Looking at expectations for next year, expect the Model 3 to build on its current numbers, growing moderately, because, despite the internal competition of the new made-in-China Model Y, China’s mainstream market is still very much a sedan-friendly market, so its higher-riding sibling will have less impact here than in SUV-crazed USA or hatchback-loving Europe, where the Model Y’s hatchback-disguised as SUV form will help it thrive.