Chinese EV numbers growing ten times faster than US

Chinese market benefits from greater choice and lower prices

Chinese EV numbers growing ten times faster than US
Chinese electrified vehicle registrations — including HEVs and PHEVs — grew by 92pc in January

The number of EVs on China's roads is growing ten times faster than in the US, according to new research released by consultancy Adamas Intelligence focusing on January sales data.

The data finds that Chinese registrations of electrified vehicles, including plug-in and conventional hybrids, soared by 92pc in January compared to the same month last year.  

In contrast, data from the US Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory shows that in the same month, US BEV registrations grew by only 7.9pc year-on-year, with 84,500 units sold. When considering electrified vehicles of all types US growth in January reached 31.9pc.

"At just under 765,000 units, more EVs were sold in China during the first month of 2024 than the next 19 countries combined. Every third passenger vehicle sold in China in January was electrified," the Adamas report says.

And US growth stuttered even more in February this year, as 81,946 new BEVs were sold in the US, only a 0.97pc increase from the same period in 2023.

The strong momentum seen in the Chinese EV market at the start the year was not a function of new tax breaks or other incentives, although existing tax breaks have recently been extended by four years.

Price barrier

While the average selling price of an EV in the US is coming down, and by some measures has achieved parity with ICE vehicles, the Chinese market has a far greater number of affordable EVs.

Adamas research cites market leader BYD's latest price cuts as an example of the "cut-throat" pricing environment in the Chinese market.

"BYD has been brutal. The Shenzhen-based company now sells its popular Qin Plus DM-I and Destroyer 05 plug-in hybrid sedans for RMB79,800, or just over $11,000 – that is 20pc cheaper than previous versions and comparable to incumbent gasoline-powered vehicles," the research says.  

"Just this week, BYD proved that the first cut is not always the deepest while slashing the price of its 'Glory Edition' Seagull full electric hatch to an eye-watering RMB69,800 ($9,700)," Adamas adds. 

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Another factor is a relative lack of choice in the US market, typified by Adamas' calculation that half of all mileage driven in EVs in Tesla vehicles.

"Lack of choice plays a major role in why ex-China markets struggle to keep up. In China you can get behind the wheel of 110 assorted brands covering any possible segment and demographic," Adamas finds.

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