Originally published on Sustainnovate.
If I asked you, “What’s the largest electric car market in the world?,” what would you say?
I track electric car sales in the US, Europe, China, and Japan about as much as I can. I write up monthly reports on some of these, and have tried to do so on all of them. Even just a day ago, I would have said the US. Actually, I did write that just a couple of days ago. But it seems the tide shifted a couple of months ago.
I assumed it wouldn’t be too long until the largest car market in the world overtook the US, especially with the strong incentives the government is providing, major concerns about air pollution, and the fast-growing number of new models targeted for that market, but it still apparently snuck up on me.
What country am I referring to? If you haven’t cracked the code already, that would be China. In September, the US had a bit under 10,000 electric car sales (even if you factor in a generous estimate for Tesla sales, which aren’t reported). Meanwhile, there were reportedly 11,991 electric car sales in China (actually, I reported on that without noticing the significance of that month). “Among electric car models, Zhejiang-based Chinese automaker Kandi rose to second place by sales in September with its EV model while Shenzhen-based BYD entered top ten list with its Qin model,” Want China Times writes.
Compared to September, US electric car sales were very similar in October and November. Finding official China electric car sales numbers is like trying to find a needle in a haystack, so I’m not sure how China compares in more recent months. (One estimate had it below the US in October again.) In any case, the future is clear: China will overtake the US in the long run. A combination of the points above and its car market being the largest in the world and growing very fast is enough to make that happen, but the government is also set on bringing electric vehicles to the roads in order to help with air pollution. “China is mandating procurement of new-energy vehicles for public transportation, including buses and taxis, to make up no less than 30% of those on the road, beginning 2015,” Want China Times writes. “Procurement of new-energy vehicles for official vehicles, including state organs and city governments, may be no fewer than 30% all vehicles from 2014 to 2016, and that percentage will go up year by year.”
Here are some related stories I’ve written on this matter:
Reprinted with permission.