The China EV sales count for January 2019 is in. China recorded 91,175 passenger electric vehicle sales in the month, and around 96,000 when adding on commercial vehicles sales. Meanwhile, with total vehicle sales dropping in China almost 16% year over year this January, gasmobiles continue their inevitable fall whilst EVs inexorably rise.
China accounts for the
lion’s dragon’s share of global EV sales, but it’s a fair share since most of them are homegrown. January is usually the slowest sales month, with typically well under half (or even a third) of the volume that EVs achieve in the last few months of the year. Given this historical pattern, we can plot January’s sales onto a trendline and get an idea of what kind of monthly EV sales we might expect towards the end of 2019:
Whilst it’s still early days, it is clear that 91,175 sales is already a huge number for January. If recent experience is any guide, we can expect to see November and December passenger EV sales both comfortably topping 200,000, perhaps even topping 250,000 in December. This should amount to at least 1.8 million passenger EV sales for the entire year, or at least 2 million in total (once we add in commercial vehicles, which usually contribute over 10% of total EV sales by yearly average). That’s a potential growth of around 59% compared to 2018’s 1.26 million EV sales (the official 2018 total figure from China’s Association of Auto Manufacturers).
So far, then, there’s no evidence that China is slowing down on the headlong push towards “New Energy Vehicles.” We recently saw that — as gasmobile sales are dropping in absolute terms, and EV sales rapidly growing in absolute terms — it’s easy for EVs to steal market share from the fossils. One wonders if the mumbling complaints and Great Wall of press releases from the world’s legacy automakers are just a precursor to them dropping out of the race entirely.
Our own EV sales guru Jose Pontes estimates that we could be looking at 8% China EV market share for 2019 overall, and up to 15% in December. Meanwhile, I’m working on an article that explores the dynamics of the transition in China — I estimate that we may well see EVs take 50% of the market for new vehicle sales by sometime in 2025, well ahead of most forecasts, and a few years ahead of the transition in Europe and particularly the US. With news like the above, I’m now wondering if I should pull forward that 2025 timeline?
The long march to EVs in China might turn out to be a much quicker march than any of us expect. The US could still gracefully join this transition and stand alongside China, if the Green New Deal is adopted. If not, the transition in the US will happen anyway, albeit being dragged along kicking and screaming.
What are your bets on China’s total EV sales for 2019? Will we see the 2 million barrier broken through this year? Higher even? Please share your thoughts and reasoning in the comments.