Auto Shanghai 2019 Shows A New Wave Of Chinese EV Producers, And It’s Sober

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The Auto Shanghai 2019 show was a great way to gauge how far China has come in the automotive industry. Gone are the copycat days. They’ve made way for new down-to-Earth and pragmatic Chinese mobility startups with mature goals. No double-digit growth this year, long-term viability and growth is the name of the game.

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Auto Shanghai 2019 was a mix of domestic and international cars, maybe 50% meant for the global market. It was impressive seeing carmakers with no international ambitions. Most startups said they would expand at some stage but weren’t rushing. Most are concentrating on the local market before turning international. It was refreshing hearing no one claiming to conquer the world in one clean investment swoop.

Of course, with an electric vehicle (EV) market bigger than the rest of the world’s combined, there’s a lot of room for growth at home in China.

This new wave of smarter startups makes me wonder if the West is aware of what is happening in China. This is an impressive, maturing market — much different from what you find in the US or Europe.

I liked Mr. He Xiaopeng, founder and CEO of Xpeng, when I met him the first time. His demeanor is down to earth, pragmatic like his company. Knowing his background and that he has no near-term intentions for international sales, getting to know his rock-solid team, it seemed to me that Xpeng is set to go a long way.

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There were far too many Chinese carmakers to list here, but I hope my summary helps. (Also see Tim Dixon’s summary of BYD’s Auto Shanghai lineup and Sebastian Blanco’s two summaries of 13 impressive showings.

The Icona by Deng Weiqi and Kong Na of Southwest Jiaotong University was an especially attractive showing. You can see more about the award-winning design on Car & Design or in Blanco’s first piece.

Auto Shanghai 2019

I caught up with Iconiq’s new CEO to see what the future holds for this startup. The Abu Dhabi–based startup has many plans and I will keep you up to date on their progression. They showed an autonomous shuttle concept at the show.

As noted earlier today, BYD unveiled its midsize SA2 plug-in hybrid sporty sedan concept and a compact crossover that will be available in gasoline, plug-in hybrid, and electric options.

Another interesting EV startup to keep an eye on is Hozon Automobile. It showed off an electric SUV with 310 miles of range that is due to go on sale right about now in China.

JAC Motors revealed a subcompact electric crossover called the iEVS4, with a range of 260 miles.

EV startup Leap Motor announced that its electric SUV, with more than 310 miles of range and Level 3 autonomous driving, will start to sell in China by the end of 2020.

Aside from the AI:ME, Audi brought its Q2 L e-tron electric compact SUV, which will be built in Foshan by Volkswagen partner First Automotive Works (FAW). Audi will bring 10 other electric models to China by 2022, including variants of the A3 Sportback and A3 Saloon — but note that most are only for the Chinese market.

Auto Shanghai 2019, A New Wave Of Lean Chinese Mobility Startups Are Here

It would be difficult to cover all the cars at Auto Shanghai 2019. The overall feeling, though, was that Chinese designers are coming into their own and quality is close to on par with the West.

The new Chinese mobility startups are not as loud and boisterous as in the past. They are sober, more mature, down to earth (for the most part). With a more pragmatic strategy, they focus on the local market before expanding elsewhere. While US and European automakers are rushing to tap into the new Chinese EV market, Chinese manufacturers are already producing good quality cars close to global standards.

That’s it from me from Shanghai. To close, enjoy some pics from the show.

Auto Shanghai 2019 Auto Shanghai 2019 Auto Shanghai 2019 Xpeng P7 G3 Auto Shanghai Xpeng P7 G3 Auto Shanghai Xpeng P7 G3 Auto Shanghai Xpeng P7 G3 Auto Shanghai Xpeng P7 G3 Auto Shanghai Xpeng P7 G3 Auto Shanghai

More CleanTechnica stories from Auto Shanghai 2019:

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Nicolas Zart

Nicolas was born and raised around classic cars of the 1920s, but it wasn't until he drove an AC Propulsion eBox and a Tesla Roadster that the light went on. Ever since he has produced green mobility content on various CleanTech outlets since 2007 and found his home on CleanTechnica. He grew up in an international environment and his communication passion led to cover electric vehicles, autonomous vehicles, renewable energy, test drives, podcasts, shoot pictures, and film for various international outlets in print and online. Nicolas offers an in-depth look at the e-mobility world through interviews and the many contacts he has forged in those industries. His favorite taglines are: "There are more solutions than obstacles." and "Yesterday's Future Now"

Nicolas Zart has 572 posts and counting. See all posts by Nicolas Zart