China’s dominance in the new energy vehicle (NEV) sector is on the rise, with Chinese and foreign carmakers exporting 170,000 electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids from China in the first two months of this year, up 62.8% year-on-year. The surge in demand has been attributed to China’s competitive edge in electrification and cutting-edge onboard functions, such as autonomous driving. Chinese-made NEVs are now gaining popularity globally, including in Europe, where modern vehicles were invented. Established giants and startups are now prioritizing the continent in their global campaigns. New York-listed Chinese startup Nio entered Europe in 2021 with Norway as its first stop. In 2022, it expanded into four other European countries, including Germany and Sweden. Its electric sedan ET7 was named the best model in the “Medium and Upper Class” category in the 47-year-old Golden Steering Wheel competition in Germany, making Nio the first Chinese automaker to win the coveted award.
SAIC Motor’s MG4 Electric is now available in around 800 dealerships in dozens of European countries, with monthly orders now exceeding 10,000 units. The Chinese bus maker, Yutong, sat atop the list of popular electric bus brands in Europe in 2022, beating local giants such as Mercedes and Volvo. Yin Tongyue, chairman of Chery Automobile, attributes China’s NEV sector’s popularity to the country’s sound supply chain, from electric motors to batteries. Six out of the world’s top ten makers of power batteries used in NEVs in 2022 were Chinese, with CATL sitting atop the list for six years in a row. The availability of experienced workers in the NEV sector is another factor in China’s increasingly competitive edge. Tesla’s plant in Shanghai is one of its global export hubs, and “99.9%” of its employees in China are local Chinese, according to Grace Tao, vice-president of Tesla.
China’s leading position in the NEV sector is expected to continue its upward trend as the country invests in technological innovation, brand differentiation, and international expansion. With a sound supply chain, experienced workers, and an expanding range of NEV models, China’s automakers are well-placed to meet the increasing global demand for electric and hybrid vehicles.