China × Cleantech — March 2019

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Welcome to the next issue of China x Cleantech, the March 2019 edition. For our full China × Cleantech history, stroll over to the “Future Trends” section of our website. For the previous edition, check here.

Renewable Energy

Chinese research institute to study the viability of space-based solar

Chinese scientists are building a research facility to study whether solar satellites are a viable technology to provide energy to earth. The research facility will use tethered balloons at a height of 1,000 meters to test the basic technology of beaming microwave electricity. If they succeed, they will move onto a balloon being launched into the stratosphere.

Joint UK-China offshore wind research centre in China

The Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult (UK) and Tus Clean Energy (China) opened the TUS-ORE Catapult Research Centre (TORC) in Yantai City to promote collaboration between the UK and Chinese offshore wind industries.

The research centre will provide support for market entry and incubation for UK offshore wind businesses into China, and will also provide support for Chinese offshore wind developers exploring new technologies in the industry.

Plug-in Vehicle Sales

February electric car sales in China

Jose Pontes also broke down the 53,000 electric car sales in China in February.

BYD Yuan

Plug-in vehicle sales grew 58% year on year, even while the overall market for cars in February was down 17%. January and February are the slowest months in the Chinese car market, yet plug-in vehicles reached 53,000 deliveries.

BYD Tang

The top two places were taken by BYD — the BYD Yuan (EV) and BYD Tang (PHEV) being the market leaders.

For all the data and a lot more analysis, read the CleanTechnica sales report.


Tesla Semi invasion in Gigafactory 3 Shanghai render

In the Tesla Model Y presentation for its unveiling, a rendering of the Tesla Gigafactory 3 Shanghai was shown. In the rendering, there was a whole fleet of Tesla Semi trucks lined up in the cargo loading docks. Jennifer Sensiba discussed whether or not this meant anything and also added details about the Chinese truck market.

China is developing a large number of electric logistics vehicles, light, medium and heavy-duty vehicles for its own market, and it has support mechanisms in place for them, so it does not seem like a long shot that Tesla would look to supply China’s huge logistics market in the near future as well, not to mention its own operations!

Non-Tesla EV News

Electric vehicle releases and news come out at a rapid pace these days. Here is a quick flyover of stories that caught my attention in the EV passenger car market.

Geely pushes to compete with Tesla line-up

Geely’s New Energy general manager indicated that in 2020 the company will launch an electric crossover SUV to complete with the Tesla Model Y. Geely New Energy is now an independent brand of Geely that is wholly responsible for electric vehicles developed by Geely. Geely New Energy is in the process of releasing a new electric platform (Geometry) as it tries to provide a market-leading product line.

Daimler and Geely turning to China for global all-electric Smart production

Daimler and Geely announced that they have formed a joint venture to make the Smart brand a global all-electric brand. The Smart cars will be manufactured in China for both domestic sales and global export by 2022.

Previously, in 2017, Daimler announced that in the USA Smart would be an all-electric brand, and in 2018 Daimler announced that by 2020 the Smart brand would be an all-electric brand in Europe.

The 50/50 joint venture will produce a new generation of all-electric Smart cars in a new factory in China.

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Chinese real estate company pivots into electric vehicle production

Evergrande, a Chinese real estate company, has invested over 15 billion yuan ($2.2 billion) into the electric vehicle supply chain, but it has been a rocky period with many high-profile problems. This article goes into the motives and problems that Evergrande has faced in its transition into a technology company.

Listings, unveilings, new vehicle announcements

JAC iEV7L listed for 94,500 yuan

The JAC iEV7L sedan was officially listed for 94,500 yuan (~$14,000). It has a 302 km (187 mile) NEDC range rating.

JAC iEV A50 officially listed

The JAC iEV A50 sedan was also listed, the price after subsidy ranging from 129,500 yuan to 134,500 yuan (approx. $19,300 to $20,000). The car has a 410 km (249 mile) NEDC range rating. This car is targeted at both the private market and carsharing services, with two separate models available. The car is widely used in JAC’s own carsharing network.

E-Golf and E-Bora released in China

FAW-Volkswagen officially released the e-Golf and e-Bora at an event in Zhuhai. The new e-Golf range is 270 km (167 miles), according to the NEDC rating system. The e-Bora range is also 270 km (167 miles).

Buick VELITE 6 slated for release in April

The pure electric Buick VELITE 6 was slated for release on the 15th of April 2019, with a range of 301 km (187 miles) according to the NEDC.

BYD e1 officially revealed

BYD unveiled the BYD e1 and announced that it would open the BYD e1 for pre-orders on April 1.

MG (SAIC) eZS officially released and pre-orders opened in China

MG, which is part of SAIC, announced that the MG eZS SUV will come in 3 trims — E-Lite, E-Plus, and E-Pro. The starting price is 119,800 RMB (~$17,900) and the NEDC-rated range is 335 km (208 miles).

BMW i3/i3s officially unveiled in China

The BMW i3 and i3s were unveiled in China. The BMW i3 will have an NEDC-rated range of 359 km (223 miles) and the BMW i3s will have an NEDC-rated range of 345 km (214 miles). The BMW i3 price is 339,800 RMB (~$50,700). For more details and pictures, read more here and here.

Low-Speed Electric Vehicle News

Standards for four-wheeled low-speed electric vehicles announced in China

On the 21st of March, the Science and Technology Department of the Ministry of Industry released standards for low-speed electric vehicles. The standards originate from a 2016 draft that was delayed due to industry and expert opposition.

The 9 standards will apply by 2021 and will be mandatory. A review period is open until 2021.

The new standards are part of a wider push to regulate and even prohibit low-speed electric vehicles, which are seen as disruptive to the road environment.

Electric Bus News

Beijing takes delivery of 2,790 electric buses and states that at the end of 2019 its bus fleet will be 94% new energy buses.

On the 25th of March, Foton Motor and Beijing Bus Group held a delivery ceremony for 2,790 electric buses. It was reported that by the end of 2019, the Beijing Bus Group fleet will be 93.7% new energy buses.

An interesting detail in the report stated that the electric buses, using dual chargers, can fast charge to full charge in 15 minutes, which is a benefit for fleet utilization.

All buses in all major Chinese cities to be new energy vehicles in 2020

The Chinese Ministry of Communications issued a notice that by the end of 2020, all buses in key regional municipalities, provincial capitals, and planned cities must be new energy vehicles.

This will require all remaining non-electric buses to be replaced. Although, this official notice is not an easy task, as not all cities have had the same electrification path as Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen. For more details on the notice and the debate about the ability to reach the notice target, read this article.

Yin Long takes over Serbian bus manufacturer

Yin Long, a Chinese bus manufacturer that produces electric buses, paid off Serbian bus manufacturer Ikarbus’s debts. This move is seen as Yin Long’s attempt to start tapping into the European electric bus market, which is undeveloped compared to China.

Electric buses displace a TON of oil

Bloomberg had an analysis on how much oil consumption is being displaced by electric vehicles. Bloomberg reports that, since 2011, electric vehicles have displaced 3% of total oil consumption. Notably, three-quarters of that 3% displacement comes from electric buses.

1,000 electric buses are estimated to displace 500 barrels of diesel each year, while 1,000 electric cars are estimated to displace 15 barrels of oil a day.

Bloomberg noted that 99% of the world’s electric buses are in China.


CATL achieves 304Wh/kg in sample battery cells

CATL, which is China’s largest lithium-ion battery manufacture and is known for its global expansion into America and Europe, has developed sample battery cells with an energy density of 304Wh/kg. Its present mass-produced battery cells achieve 240Wh/kg energy density.

China’s first grid-side battery storage facility breaks ground in Jiangsu Province

In early March, the ground was broken on the Nanjing Jiangbei Energy Storage Power Station, which is in the Jiangsu province in China. It is China’s first grid-side energy storage power station and will be the world’s largest energy storage power station fitted with reused electric vehicle power batteries.

This facility is testing out numerous technologies and is part of a pilot for recycling electric vehicle power batteries. The Jiangsu province in China is a pilot province for recycling electric vehicle batteries, and they are using these experimental facilities to learn more about recycling electric vehicle batteries.


WiTricity signs an agreement to share its wireless charging technology

Steve Hanley, in an article about wireless taxi charging in Oslo, discussed how WiTricity, an American company, signed an agreement to share its wireless charging technology with a subsidiary of Zhejiang VIE Science & Technology, which is a tier one supplier of the automotive industry in China.

Intercity charging in southern China aimed to be done by end of 2019

The provinces of Guangdong, Guangxi, Yunnan, Guizhou, and Hainan, which are the five most southern Chinese provinces, will soon have a unified intercity charging network. The Southern Network Electric Vehicle Service Company was established to reach this goal by 2019.

10,000 rapid charging piles will be constructed to provide the five provinces full coverage for intercity travel. For more details, read this article.

Highway charging rapidly increasing, massive peaks at spring festival

Intercity charging in China was 300% higher during 2019 Spring Festival than 2018 Spring Festival. Spring Festival in China is the largest human migration on earth, which tests infrastructure to its limits. Read more about the 2019 findings in this article.

Electric Vehicle Monitoring

China’s new energy vehicle national monitoring and management platform exceeded 2 million vehicles in its system in March 2019. The platform has received coverage in the western press due to privacy concerns, that it is so closely tracking new energy vehicles.

The system is designed to collect data on vehicles and to ensure verification of compliance with state subsidies. Another of many functions is the tracking of the battery pack from battery production to OEM, user, and recycling — all to ensure compliance. This article goes into many details on the system, including how to log into the system.


China has announced the reduction of battery electric vehicle subsidies, but hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle subsidies stay the same.

China’s Ministry of Finance announced the subsidy changes on its website. Bloomberg states, “the subsidy for pure battery electric cars with a driving range of 400 kilometers (250 miles) and above will be cut by half, to 25,000 yuan ($3,700) per vehicle from 50,000 yuan.”

Of course, despite subsidy reductions, auto companies must earn or purchase NEV credits equal to 10% (in 2019) of their fossil fuel vehicle sales, with special weighting based on battery capacity.

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Tim Dixon

When not researching the Chinese electric car market, I am teaching in China. My interest in sustainable development started in University and it led me to work with Tesla Europe in the Supercharger team. I'm interested in science fiction, D&D, and travel. You can follow me on Twitter @TimDixon3.

Tim Dixon has 62 posts and counting. See all posts by Tim Dixon