China has become the world’s largest automotive market, and the nation is well-positioned to become a significant exporter of vehicles due to favorable labor costs and experience in mass producing technology and energy storage products.
The Chinese government has made vehicle electrification central to its aggressive New Energy Vehicle Industry Development Plan for growing the automotive market both domestically and internationally and has created many national and local incentives for plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) purchases.
However, PEV production will fall well short of the government’s ambitious goals of manufacturing 500,000 PEVs a year by 2015.
The PEV market in China will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 60% from 2012 to 2017, surpassing 152,000 units sold annually by 2017, according to a new report from Pike Research. However, that figure represents less than 1% of the total light duty vehicle market in China.
Battery-electric (BEVs) will outsell plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) in China by a greater than five-to-one margin during the forecast period, as the incentives and consumer demand in the country favor emissions-free driving.
Chinese Government projects aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the major metropolitan areas are funding the installation of thousands of EV charging stations. The country also has one of the largest lithium deposits in the world, and therefore is likely to become a key competitor in the lithium ion (Li-ion) battery market.
Despite these favorable conditions, PEV sales have been far below the government’s goals, and international automakers have been slow to import Li-ion batteries from China due to concerns about quality.[source: Pike Research]