China’s Electric Car Sales Up 64% In July — #CleanTechnica Report

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BYD Yuan EV #1 in July

The Chinese plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) market is in summer-chill mode, with some 75,000 units being registered in July, up only 64%. Yes, this is a slowdown from the three-digit growth rates of previous months. It is explained by the fact that “New Energy” subsidies were slashed to vehicles with full-charge driving range lower to 150 km in June, so most small city EVs stopped seeing sales, draining a significant percentage of over PEV sales.

Consequently, the plug-in cars stayed away from their record 5% market share of May, ending July with 3.9% share. The 2018 PEV market share rose slightly, to 3%, well above the 2.1% of 2017. With sales expected to pick up as the year advances, the 2018 PEV share should end north of the 3% or even 4% threshold, with December possibly reaching 7%.

Last month, the Chinese OEMs represented almost 50% of all PEVs registered globally, an impressive number that should increase during 2018.

Chinese automakers have symbolic export numbers, but the domestic market is more than enough to absorb the current Chinese production, helped by the fact that it is still a protected market and foreign OEMs took a long time to look seriously at this niche. However, with PEV quotas to be fulfilled in the near future, foreign brands are putting in more effort and reaching 7% share of the country’s PEV market. Of this small-ish cake, 3 percentage points belong to Tesla, 2 percentage points belong to BMW, and the remaining manufacturers share the final 2 percentage points.

In July, the headlining news was the BYD Yuan EV being the monthly best seller, in only its second month on the market! Has BYD found its BAIC EC-Series Killer?

Here are July’s top 5 best selling models:

#1 – BYD Yuan EV: We all knew that BYD’s new Baby Crossover was destined for success, but few imagined that it was going to become the #1 seller right in its second month on the market, with 4,174 deliveries, beating inclusively the BAIC EC-Series, which needed three months to reach #1. Are we witnessing the rise of the 2019 best selling model? I guess it will depend more on BYD’s ability/willingness to make them in volume. The Yuan EV is sitting on the vortex of the two fastest selling segments (compact crossovers and EVs). With unrivaled specs (42kWh battery, 305 km/190 mi NEDC range, 174 hp motor) and a great price (25,000 USD), BYD might have found its star player, crowning what it is already a strong lineup.

#2 – BYD Qin PHEV: With the second-generation Qin just a few weeks from landing, the first generation slowed down a bit, but still, with 4,068 units, BYD’s “Model 3” scored its 11th consecutive 3,000–4,000 units/month result. (Talk about consistency!) Sales are still going strong for BYD’s sports sedan, and should continue at the same level until the arrival of the new version. As for the new generation, sales above 5,000/month should be the norm.

#3 – JAC iEV S/E: JAC was one of the EV pioneers of China, selling plug-ins since 2010, and now it’s back in the game, registering 3,853 units last month. With a competitive price of $26,000 (USD) before incentives, this is a vehicle targeted at trendy urbanites that for some reason can’t reach a BYD Song or Roewe’s eRX5, getting instead a good-looking compact vehicle (Kia Soul-sized) with just enough power and range (114 hp & 251 km/156 mi) to not to make it look bad. Now, about that new BYD Yuan EV…

#4 – Roewe Ei6: This not-so-compact sedan is a favorite among private buyers. The aspirational sedan registered 3,783 units in July, its second-best month ever, allowing for its first top 5 presence. Banking on the model’s strongpoints, like its design and quality, the automaker is able to get some buyers to look beyond its middle-of-the-road specs (9 kWh battery…) and aspirational price — $29,700 (USD). Note that the 202,000 CNY price tag is 20,000 yuan more than the better specced BYD Qin. Now, about that fancy new BYD Qin II…

#5 – Chery eQ: Chery was one of the Chinese brands to bet early on plug-in vehicles. It won the top-selling model title three years in a row (2011, ’12, ’13) with its tiny QQ3 EV! Now, the automaker is trying to regain relevance with the eQ, the spiritual (and material) successor to the QQ3. In July, it registered 3,665 units, allowing it to collect a top 5 position. A vehicle marketed to city dwellers for $24,000 (USD) before incentives, you get a funky city EV with a 22kWh battery providing just enough range (200 km / 125 miles NEDC) to cover the needs of the urban jungle.

China July 2018 YTD EV Market Share
1 BAIC EC-Series 500 40,406 9%
2 BYD Qin PHEV 4,068 27,013 6%
3 BYD Song PHEV 2,408 23,609 5%
4 JAC iEV S/E 3,853 21,400 5%
5 BYD e5 3,056 19,678 4%
6 SAIC Roewe Ei6 PHEV 3,783 18,973 4%
7 JMC E200 2,121 16,070 4%
8 SAIC Roewe eRX5 PHEV 2,242 15,586 3%
9 BAIC EX-Series 3,002 15,202 3%
10 Chery eQ 3,665 15,180 3%
11 Geely Emgrand EV 2,500 13,799 3%
12 Zhidou D2 EV 343 12,780 3%
13 SAIC Roewe Ei5 EV 2,939 12,707 3%
14 Hawtai EV160 3,113 12,568 3%
15 SAIC Baojun E100 602 11,127 2%
16 Zotye E200 1,919 9,279 2%
17 BAIC EU-Series 1,618 9,140 2%
18 Tesla Model X e) 1,600 7,869 2%
19 Chery eQ1 7,238 2%
20 BYD Tang PHEV (Gen. I & II) 3,551 6,835 2%
Others 28,251 134,864 30%
TOTAL 75,134 451,323 100%

2018 Manufacturer Ranking

There weren’t many changes in the top positions of the year-to-date ranking. In fact, we have to go down to #9, to see a position change, with three models (BAIC EX-Series, Chery eQ, and Geely Emgrand EV) all climbing one position, at the expense of the Zhidou D2 EV, which is currently crossing a sales drought due to the removal of incentives.

Another model hurting from the removal of incentives for short-range BEVs is the tiny Baojun E100, down two positions to #15, to the profit of the now #13 Roewe Ei5 and #14 Hawtai EV160.

Two other models climbed positions, with the Zotye E200 reaching #16 and the Tesla Model X #18.

The BYD Tang rejoined the top 20, thanks to its new generation, after registered 3,551 units last month. That was the nameplate’s best result in 31 months, so expect the midsize SUV to climb a few more positions in the coming months.

Finally, the BYD Yuan EV, despite being only in its second month on the market, is already #22 in the 2018 ranking. It should join the top 20 in August. The small crossover is following in the footsteps of the BAIC EC-Series, but the question is, will BYD be able to make the 10,000+ units/month that BAIC has already proven to be capable of delivering.

Looking at the manufacturer ranking, BYD (19%) is now the comfortable leader on top, thanks especially to the Yuan EV jumping in at a high level, while runner-up BAIC (14%, down 2%) is losing share due to the EC-Series sales drought and the EX & EU-Series unable to fully compensate this drop.

In 3rd place, Shanghai-based Roewe (11%, down 1%) holds the last position on the podium, with a significant advantage over the new #4, Chery (6% share). Also, with BAIC now only 3% above Roewe, the SAIC brand is surely going after the silver medal.

Looking at the SAIC Group (Roewe + MG + Maxus + Baojun) as one entity, it is already in second place, with 14% of the Chinese plug-in market, so it won’t be surprising to see it running for the #1 OEM title soon.

Cool Kids

There were a few interesting new additions, like the Chinese-disguised-as-German Borgward BXi7 EV midsize SUV and the Changan CS75 PHEV, which also plays in the midsize SUV category, but they were all out-shined by a new Geely…

Geely Emgrand GSe EV — Hot on the heels of the successful Borui launch, which in July outsold all its German competitors and the Tesla Model S in the large plug-in sedan category, Geely is at it again. In July it launched the all-electric Emgrand GSe, the BEV version of its best selling GS compact crossover. With 1,886 units in its maiden month on the market, it seems the Chinese automaker has another winner in its hands. With good enough, but not outstanding, specs (52kWh battery, 353 km/221 mi NEDC range, 163 hp), it is ready to fight the BYD Song and Roewe eRX5, and considering that Geely is currently on a roll, this new EV is destined to sell in the thousands per month, maybe reaching some 3,000 units on a monthly basis.

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José Pontes

Always interested in the auto industry, particularly in electric cars, Jose has been overviewed the sales evolution of plug-ins on the EV Sales blog, allowing him to gain an expert view on where EVs are right now and where they are headed in the future. The EV Sales blog has become a go-to source for people interested in electric car sales around the world. Extending that work and expertise, Jose is also market analyst on EV-Volumes and works with the European Alternative Fuels Observatory on EV sales matters.

José Pontes has 472 posts and counting. See all posts by José Pontes