China × Cleantech — March 2020

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

EV Sales

Tesla Model 3 Shines In Disrupted Market — China EV Sales Report

On the 3rd of March 2020, Jose Pontes reported on sales numbers from the Chinese EV market in January 2020, when the December sale hangover started. The plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) market dropped by 50% year over year (YoY). The overall vehicle market as a whole dropped by 22% YoY.

Jose identified that in January 2020, Chinese OEMs represented 64% of all the PEVs registered in China, which is a big drop because in 2019 Chinese OEMs represented 85% of the market share.   

Jose then went into detail about the top cars in the rankings and new entrants to the market.

Tesla Model 3 Leads Disrupted Chinese EV Market

On the 25th of March 2020, Jose Pontes reported on sales numbers from the Chinese EV market in February 2020, and you can clearly see the impact of COVID-19 in the sales numbers. The plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) market dropped by 65% year over year (YoY), with only 15,000 registrations. The overall vehicle market as a whole dropped by 82% YoY.

Jose again went into detail about the top-ranking cars and SUVs as well as a new entrant to the market, the Chevrolet Menlo.

Tesla Model 3 Shines In Transition Month In China

In late April, Jose Pontes brought us a slightly more positive update, regarding March plug-in vehicle sales. Instead of dropping 65% year over year, they dropped “just” 51%. “As a consequence of these events, the March plug-in vehicle (PEV) share was 5.7% (4.8% fully electric/BEV), pulling the 2020 share to 4.2% (3.3% BEV). That’s a step below the 5.5% of 2019, but this is still the first month of the AC (After Corona) era, so we expect this number to grow throughout the year.” Perhaps the most interesting fact, though, is that US-based Tesla is leading the sales charts, but with its now China-made Model 3. We can say that Tesla has successfully traversed major global borders.


Tesla’s relentless push to make the world sustainable keeps going. There were a couple more highlights from China in March.

Can Tesla Salvage China’s EV Market Post COVID-19?

On the 31st of March 2020, Carolyn Fortuna discussed how Tesla might be able to keep China’s EV market developing even within a time of immense economic and political uncertainty. She outlined research from Leibniz Institute for Financial Research that the virus pandemic has the risk of creating a financial pandemic.

Carolyn explained, however, that Tesla is in a good position to keep growing in the Chinese market due to its product, market regulations, and the company’s mission.    

Tesla & The China Connection

On the 27th of March 2020, Carolyn Fortuna discussed how Tesla developing deeper connections in China has helped the company provide support to the USA in the COVID-19 outbreak, noting that production at Gigafactory 3 in Shanghai is rolling smoothly again. This connection is seen as part of the reason why Tesla could remain stable in this crisis.

In Hot Water With Customers In China, Tesla Gets A Tip Of The Hat From Volkswagen

On the 14th of March 2020, Steve Hanley reported on the news that some Chinese customers of Tesla were threatening class-action lawsuit after their Tesla Model 3s were shipped with an earlier version of the Tesla Full-Self-Driving chip due to supplier issues. The Chinese government has requested Tesla to rectify this issue, but the consequences of this issue are not yet fully known.

Tesla Beverages In China Look Refreshing

On the 11th of March 2020, Johnna Crider reported on Tesla-branded drinks in China. Johnna went into the history of Teslaquila and possible reasons why it has not become a product yet, and then reported on a Tesla-branded drink. However, it’s most likely this is a company using the Tesla brand to sell its product. It is not uncommon that brands are “creatively” used in China. I personally see many of these kinds of things daily.

DIY Tesla Cybertruck

Something about Tesla sparks the imagination, and the Tesla Cybertruck is perhaps the best manifestation of that yet. The Cybertruck has created a whole fleet of imitators from DIYers. Here is one from China that popped up in March 2020:

Renewable Energy

Renewable energy — the energy of now. A look at developments in all types of renewable energy in China.

Indian Solar Imports From China Down 40% In 3 Years

On March 22nd of 2020, Smiti discussed an interesting development in India. Due to India imposing duties on Chinese solar, it is down 40% in three years. She mentions that the Indian government’s attempts to stimulate growth in the Indian solar industry, however, have been less effective.


Even CleanTechnica can’t escape COVID-19. Here is your dose of COVID-19 news related to China.

Air Pollution Plummets As China, Europe, New York Go On COVID-19 Lockdown

On the 27th of March 2020, Jo Borrás reported on how COVID-19 lockdowns around the world have impacted air pollution. The article had images from NASA that showed a massive decline in air pollution.  

china coronavirus air pollution
Image credit: NASA Earth Observatory images by Joshua Stevens, using modified Copernicus Sentinel 5P data processed by the European Space Agency.

Jo Borrás then discussed how bad Chinese air pollution had gotten back in 2014 and then went onto Europe and NOx pollution.

Coronavirus Partly Responsible For Dramatic Decrease In Nitrogen Dioxide Pollution Over China

On the 6th of March 2020, Steve Hanley discussed a report from NASA of the massive decrease in nitrogen dioxide concentration in China since February 10th 2020, a few weeks after China enacted mandatory quarantine restrictions because of COVID-19. Steve goes into details about the nitrogen dioxide decrease and the situation in China that caused it.

He ends with a call that we should take COVID-19 and the pollution dramatic reduction as a reminder that we are all interconnected and we should stop acting oblivious to the reality that we are a global community.

China NO2 polution
Image credit: NASA Earth Observatory images by Joshua Stevens, using modified Copernicus Sentinel 5P data processed by the European Space Agency.

4 Things China Is Doing To Contain Coronavirus That USA Is Not Doing — Anywhere

We are not doing a good job in the US of flattening the curve. China did quite a good job of it. Image Credit: Siouxsie Wiles and Toby Morris / Wikimedia Commons

On the 27th of March 2020, Zachary Shahan went into what the Chinese government has done to contain the COVID-19 outbreak in China that the USA is not doing. First he outlined that the United States of America was failing to contain the virus, and then he highlighted an interview with a former Harvard Medical School professor who helped to set up medical facilities in China. The four strategies from China highlighted were:

  1. Hotel isolation: if someone has had contact with someone with COVID-19, they are isolated in a hotel for 14 days.
  2. Regional breakpoints: People travelling from one region to another are isolated for 14 days.
  3. Enter China, 14-day house arrest: People entering the country were isolated for 14 days (this also happened to buildings which someone infected visited).
  4. Temperature reporting/contact tracing app: an app that you had to use to report your temperature. It also provided a QR code to enter certain areas and districts.

See our previous China × Cleantech reports for more info from the red giant. Subscribe to the China X Cleantech newsletter to not miss a beat.

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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