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Light-duty Plug-in Electric Vehicles in China: Evolution, Competition, and Outlook

Publication Type
Conference Paper
Book Title
WCX SAE World Congress Experience 2023
Publication Date
Page Numbers
1 to 10
Publisher Location
Warrendale, Pennsylvania, United States of America
Conference Name
SAE 2023 WCX™ World Congress
Conference Location
Detroit, Michigan, United States of America
Conference Sponsor
Society of Automotive Engineer (SAE) International
Conference Date

China's plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) market with stocks at 7.8 million is the world's largest in 2021, and it accounts for half of the global PEV growth in 2021. The PEV market in China has dramatically evolved since the pandemic in 2020: over 20% of all new PEV sales are from China by mid-2022. Recent features of PEV market dynamics, consumer acceptance, policies, and infrastructure have important implications for both the global energy market and manufacturing stakeholders. From the perspective of demand pull-supply push, this study analyzes China's PEV industry with a market dynamics framework by reviewing sales, product and brand, infrastructure, and government policies from the last few years and outlooking the development of the new government’s 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025). From the demand side, small-sized sedans and compact sport utility vehicles with increased electric ranges are both popular for PEVs, and the electric range of over 60% of new battery electric vehicles in 2021 has been longer than 400 km. From the supply side, although foreign brands like Tesla are still competitive, the products by Chinese domestic automakers like BYD are becoming more attractive and cannibalizing the high-end market. However, the production capacity and cost of PEVs may be limited by the upstream of the supply chain – the battery manufacturing and supply chain inflation. In addition, it is also uncertain how much sales demand impacts will be caused by the potential global economic recession. The government firmly supports electrification and decarbonization of the vehicle industry by emphasizing the importance of the vehicle industry for promoting the greenhouse gas net zero by 2060. The dual-credit policy is regarded as the most critical regulation in a bid to restrain fuel consumption and promote PEV share. Still, the market is facing some technological obstacles, such as battery safety and driving range anxiety, before real prosperity. In addition, the Chinese electric vehicle market is seeing a trend toward the development of new technologies such as vehicle-to-X, autonomous driving, and connected vehicles.