China × Cleantech — January 2021

Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!

Welcome to China × Cleantech — January 2021 edition. Our China x Cleantech series covers top cleantech stories in China each month.

Happy 牛 Year!

I hope your Spring festival went well, Happy 牛 (NIU) Year.

EV Sales

China — 9.4% Plugin Vehicle Share In Another Record Month

On the 28th of January, José Pontes reported on the sales numbers of the Chinese EV market for December 2020. He started by summarizing the year-on-year (YoY) sales numbers, including PHEV versus BEVs.

Overall, Chinese car sales for December were up 12% and plug-in sales were up 50% YoY with a record 224,000 units. José Pontes discussed how subsidy changes in China in 2019 impacted sales, but now sales have started to grow past the last milestone, and due to lack of subsidy changes, we will see a record year in China in 2021, with possibly double-digit EV market share. The Wuling HongGuang Mini EV was the best selling EV in December with 33,489 units, followed by the Tesla Model 3 with 23,804 units.

José expounded on the top 5 best selling new energy vehicles, which includes 3 city EVs, and the return of the city EVs is the big news in the market in general.

NEV News

Lynk & Co ZERO EV Concept Hits The Track (Video)

On the 5th of January 2021, Jo Borrás reported on Lynk & Co (owned by Geely) taking its ZERO electric vehicle prototype to a test track in Jiangsu Province, China. The car, which is an estate/wagon, was taken to showcase its stats and abilities. Notably, the car styling is similar to the most popular in China right now.

Read the article for more details on the SEA architecture platform for electric cars from Geely and pictures of the prototype.

Foxconn $200M Cash Infusion Means The 48″ Infotainment Screen Lives!

Byton M-Byte Pre-production Model

On the 7th of January 2021, Jo Borrás reported that Foxconn has signed a strategic production deal with Byton, a Chinese EV startup that faced numerous issues in 2020. Jo Borrás discussed the deal and background issues around Byton. Foxconn is expected to invest $200 million into getting production facilities online, and aid is coming from the Nanjing Economic and Technological Development Zone.


1st Look At The Made-In-China Tesla Model Y

On the 2nd of January 2021, Johnna Crider reported on a Twitter thread from Ray4Tesla that revealed the made-in-China Tesla Model Y was sneaking out, including a detailed look at what was new in it.

Tesla’s 1st Deliveries Of Made-In-China Model Y, & Hot Market Potential

On the 19th of January 2021, Johnna Crider reported the first deliveries of Tesla Model Y in China and speculated what the introduction of the Tesla Model Y will impact the overall market sales numbers and the global balance of Tesla sales. The deliveries happened in 10 cities. All cars go disinfected before delivery and came with a disinfection kit.

Autonomous News

AutoX Releases Autonomous Robotaxi Video In Shenzhen, China

Picture of AutoX robotaxi, using Chrysler Pacifica van.

On the 31st of January 2021, Vijay Govindan reported on a video released by AutoX regarding its autonomous robotaxis in Shenzhen, China. Vijay discussed details of the car’s performance in the video, the lack of a driver in the front of the car, and the founder of the company. He also highlighted the corporate competition in the autonomous vehicle space and then discussed the geopolitical/technological policy angle.

Comma.Ai Could Buy Automaker, Waymo Ditching “Self-Driving,” Xpeng Adds Lidar — Autonomous Driving Updates

On the 10th of January 2021, Zachary Shahan wrote a rundown of a backlog of autonomous driving updates, and one of these stories was Xpeng adding lidar to its XPILOT semi-autonomous driving hardware for 2021.


Solar Carport Using BIPV Solar Panels Completed In China

Image courtesy Jinko Solar — 动态详情

On the 28th of January 2021, Zachary Shahan wrote about the beautiful development of solar carports in China using BIPV solar panels from JinkoSolar. The article ends with a call for more joint EV charger–solar carport projects, which is a good way to get dual or triple use out of a parking area.

Tesla Opens World’s Largest Supercharging Station — 72 Stalls!

On the 2nd of January 2021, Johnna Crider reported on the news that Tesla had competed its largest Supercharging station, with 72 stalls in Shanghai. The news was tweeted originally by Jay in Shanghai.

She presented a time-lapse of installation of Tesla Superchargers from 2014–2020. As someone who worked on the Tesla Supercharger/Charging Team in Europe, I salute the Tesla China team for this commitment to the mission and great progress.

Renewable Energy

Wind Power & Renewables Surge To New Record In China

On the 22nd of January 2021, Kurt Lowder reported on the news that in 2020 China added 72 gigawatts of wind power, which is nearly double last year’s record. They added that in 2019, globally, only 60 gigawatts of wind power were added, which puts that number into perspective.

In additional news, China added 48 gigawatts of solar power, but that was below the 53 gigawatt previous record.

wind turbines

JinkoSolar Begins Construction On 20 Gigawatt Solar Cell Factory

On the 23rd of January 2021, Zachary Shahan reported on the news that JinkoSolar started construction on a 20 gigawatt solar cell factory in Chuxiong, Yunnan Province, China. JinkoSolar is one of the largest solar module manufactures in the world and aims to bring the plant online in May 2021. This solar cell Factory will be the largest in the world and would triple the companies production capacity which indicates a strong investment into strong growth of solar module sales going forward. The factory will be powered by renewable energy, solar, and hydro. The article then details JinkoSolar great credit rating and overall high market confidence, among other things.

Battery News

CATL & LG Chem Are World’s Biggest EV Battery Producers

On the 2nd of January 2021, Zachary Shahan reported on the news of the top 3 EV battery producers, data from SNE Research show that top battery producers worldwide are CATL, LG Energy Solution, and Panasonic. These 3 companies make up 66% of the EV battery market share.

CATL Putting $3 Billion Into 3 New Battery Factories, LG Chem Doubling Its China-Made Battery Production

On the 10th of January 2021, Zachary Shahan reported on the news that CATL is spending 39 billion yuan ($3 billion) on 3 new battery factories in China, and LG Energy Solutions (LG Chem) is doubling its Chinese-made battery production. The 3 CATL factories will be built in the provinces of Fujian, Sichuan, and Jiangsu and will add 120–150 GWh production capacity in the next 2–4 years. While LG Energy Solutions is doubling battery production of Chinese made batteries, mostly to keep up with the demand of Tesla in China.  For more details and discussions read the article.


Digging Into Yahua Lithium & Its 5 Year Lithium Agreement With Tesla

On the 11th of January 2021, Johnna Crider dug in the 5 year deal between Tesla and Yahua Lithium for lithium hydroxide. The contract that is ranged from $630–880 million, Johnna Crider looks at reports from numerous sources and discusses how this deal highlights the need for companies to invest in the supply of these materials as the market grows.


31 Countries, States, And Cities Have Gas/Diesel Car Bans In Place

On the 2nd of January 2021, Steve Hanley wrote about the 31 countries, states, and cities that have set bans for ICE cars. China is one of them with 2040 set the end of new car sales of ICE vehicles. Steve starts the article writing about the free-market vs state-invention arguments around climate change.

Global China

Lime Adds NIU Electric Scooters To Its Rental Fleet

On the 29th of January 2021, Jo Borrás reported on the news that a last-mile transport solution company has added the Chinese company NIU electric Scooters to its rental fleet. Jo Borrás discusses if this deal makes sense based on the USA state laws regulating 30–50 mph vehicles. He then details the process that Lime is doing to ensure riders stay safe, including 45 min instruction required to use, a special helmet and requiring the uploading of a selfie in the helmet, plug sensors monitoring the users use of the scooter.

Polestar EVs Take Business Insider’s “Car Of The Year” Honors

On the 6th of January 2021, Jo Borrás reported the news that Polestar EVs both got Business Insider‘s “Car of The Year” award. The article goes into the award, the need for these vehicles and a quick summary of the two vehicles.

BYD Zimbabwe Starts Delivering EVs To Customers

On the 16th of January 2021, Remeredzai Joseph Kuhudzai reported on the news that BYD is starting deliveries of its electric van to customers in Zimbabwe. He first discusses the rapid growth of the global EV market, then goes into how BYD is a leader in electric mobility globally. He mentions BEVs make sense in Zimbabwe due to shortages of oil and that delivery fleets make an obvious target. For more details on BYD Zimbabwe is doing and the BYD T3, read the full article.   

BYD Will Sell 1,002 More Electric Buses To Bogotá, Colombia

On the 21st of January 2021, Zachary Shahan reported on the news that BYD is selling 1,002 more electric buses to Bogotá, Colombia, in addition to the 470 reported in December.

The order is interesting as it was not a pure electric tender but open to all fuel types and out of 1,295 units, BYD pure electric got 1,002 units this is a great endorsement. For all the details, read the full article.

Sungrow Crosses 10 Gigawatts Of Solar Power Inverters In Americas

On the 14th of January 2021, Zachary Shahan reported that Sungrow had surpassed 10 gigawatts of solar power inverters shipped to the Americas. Plus 7 Gigawatts of solar power inverters shipped to India. Globally its installed capacity is 120 gigawatts, in over 120 countries.

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.

For updates, follow me on Twitter or add me on LinkedIn.


Have a tip for CleanTechnica? Want to advertise? Want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

CleanTechnica Holiday Wish Book

Holiday Wish Book Cover

Click to download.

Our Latest EVObsession Video

I don't like paywalls. You don't like paywalls. Who likes paywalls? Here at CleanTechnica, we implemented a limited paywall for a while, but it always felt wrong — and it was always tough to decide what we should put behind there. In theory, your most exclusive and best content goes behind a paywall. But then fewer people read it!! So, we've decided to completely nix paywalls here at CleanTechnica. But...
Like other media companies, we need reader support! If you support us, please chip in a bit monthly to help our team write, edit, and publish 15 cleantech stories a day!
Thank you!

CleanTechnica uses affiliate links. See our policy here.

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 61 posts and counting. See all posts by Tim Dixon