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Published on March 8th, 2016 | by James Ayre


China Electric Car Sales Increased 223% In 2015

March 8th, 2016 by  

Originally published on EV Obsession.

Electric vehicles captured a 1.4% share of China’s total auto market in December 2015 — equal to roughly 34,100 unit sales — according to EV-Volumesan EV sales database and consultancy now partnering with EV Obsession and CleanTechnica. The term “electric vehicles” refers here to so-called “new energy vehicles” (NEVs) — all-electrics, plug-in hybrids, and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles.

Altogether, 2015 saw ~188,700 NEVs sold in China — a roughly 223% year-on-year increase over sales in 2014. The market share held by NEVs for the full year was around 0.9%. In addition to these impressive numbers for the consumer NEV market, there were around 124,000 electric buses + commercial vehicles deployed in the country in 2015.

EV sales China 2015 EV Volumes


With the surge in NEV sales, China has become by far the largest electric vehicle (EV) market in the world — being roughly 50% bigger than the US EV market in 2015. The substantial incentives offered to EV buyers in the country no doubt played a large part in the growth seen during the year.

The country’s overall auto market hit a highwater mark in December 2015 as well, with nearly two and a half million cars sold (~2,442,000) during the month.

EV-Volumes provides more info and context:

Also the total 2015 finished as the best sales year ever, with 21,109,000 passenger cars sold, regretfully 99.1% of them were not plug-ins, yet.

In the quarters 1 to 3, the success of BYD Qin and Tang shifted sales towards plug-in hybrids. In Q4, the mix returned to higher EV sales again, driven by high sales of mini-EVs, the same time as the two popular PHEVs (plug-in hybrids) BYD Qin and Roewe 550 had a particularly weak quarter.

BEVs have to meet tougher technical requirements for 2016, to be eligible for the generous subsidies. Their all-electric range needs to be at least 100 km, up from 80 km. Purchase subsidies depend on all-electric range and are reduced by 5000 RMB (700 €) for lower range EVs in 2016. This boosted demand for mini-EVs in Q4, before the reduction became effective.

The largest portion of NEV sales is still to mini-EVs, many of them 2-seaters below 3 meters of overall length. 2015 they stood for 40% of NEV sales, counting only EVs, they stood for 60%. Much of the growth in 2015 is still attributed to the A-segment, but they lost 9.3% share in total NEV sales. Buyers are upgrading into B- and C-Segments, as new models became available at attractive prices.

China EV share EV volumes

Notably, electric SUV sales in China grew considerably during the year — almost entirely on the back of the BYD Tang PHEV, which was released in June 2015.

Image Credits: EV-Volumes 
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About the Author

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

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