Date: 09/17/2019 – Author: Sandra Brajkovic
Reading time: 6 minutes

When it comes to being ahead of the times, clocks are not the only thing set ahead in China. While the West is still dreaming, the industrious East has been ushering in a new era of electric mobility. Here are 10 reasons why China is the shining model when it comes to the future of transport.

1. Nowhere else in the world are more electric cars being sold

2018 was the first year in which more than two million electric cars have been sold globally — over half of which were delivered in China. An 85 percent increase compared to the previous year. Europe is lagging behind with an increase of just 35 percent. According to estimations, 5 million all-electric cars are forecasted to be on roads in China by 2020.

2018 marks the first time ever more than 5 million electric cars have been roaming our planet. Nearly half of these cars are to be seen (but hardly heard!) on the streets of China. Imagine this: one of every two electric cars built anywhere in the world ends up in China. This positions the Middle Kingdom most strongly in the current McKinsey Electric Vehicle Index (EVI), which monitors the development of the 15 most important global players.

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2. No other country has a bigger selection when it comes to electric cars

In 2018 alone automobile manufacturers have launched 90 new electric cars – either purely electric or hybrid. By 2020 another 300 and more models will hit the market. Until now, Chinese buyers have the choice among 150 models. By comparison, Germany takes second place with a selection of 65 different electric vehicles.


3. China has the most electric charging stations worldwide — and won’t stop building more

The number of charging stations in China is booming. By the end of June 2019, it has surpassed 1 million. According to official reports, 412,000 of these charging stations are public, while 590,000 are private. By 2020, the amount of battery-fueled vehicles in China is supposed to rise to 5 million – the current number of all electric cars on our planet today. The Chinese government plans to match the number of electric cars with nearly the same number of charging stations. By 2020, about 4.8 million stations should be in operation.

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4. China has been massively investing in electric public transport

In Europe they are still a head turner; in China they are around every corner: electric buses. According to Bloomberg, around 380,000 electric buses are currently used for public transportation in China. By comparison, there are around 5,000 electric buses in total throughout the rest of the world. Bloomberg further estimates that this saves a mind-blowing 41 millions liters of diesel per day. This is triple the amount all electric cars in the world save per day. Shenzhen is the first city to replace all its diesel buses with electric ones. More than 16,000 of them silently roam the streets of the 12-million inhabitant metropolis. Shanghai is about to follow in Shenzhen’s footsteps: By next year, all public buses for the city’s 26 million citizens are supposed to be entirely electric.


5. The Chinese government is subsidizing electric mobility

As the air pollution in China became worse and worse in the last decade, the government heavily encouraged carmakers to build electric vehicles by subsiding and offering incentives. According to calculations by Quartz, in 2016, the Shenzhen-based manufacturer Build Your Dreams (BYD) alone was granted a subsidy amount of 1 billion dollars. A controversial but obviously effective way in empowering China’s number 1 maker of electric vehicles.


6. China demands a quota for electric cars

China is already the country that sells the most electric cars worldwide. But the giant wants even more: binding quotas for the amount of electric vehicles entering the country. Car manufacturers worldwide active in China will have to make sure a certain amount of their vehicles come with electric drive. Depending on calculations, we are talking about 8 percent of all the cars manufactured – and this is just the start. In the upcoming years the quota is supposed to be increased.

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7. China’s start-ups are popping up like daisies

Everyone wants a piece of the pie, no wonder start-ups are sprouting like crazy. Nearly 500 electric vehicles manufacturers are registered in China. While many of them are probably not to be taken too seriously, the sheer amount of potential players is astonishing. For all we know one of them might become the new Tesla. A current aspirant for this title is the start-up Nio. Located in Heifei it is known for its modern and unconventional solutions and designs, and has already outsold Tesla within China.


8. China and its people are leading in developing and embracing current and futuristic technology

China has proven to be the heart of the electric mobility market by manufacturing the actual heart of the electric car: the battery. When it comes to the battery, countries like Germany have become somewhat of a developing country — too slow in realizing the importance of battery technology. Established in 2011, Contemporary Amperex Technology Co Ltd, or CATL, only needed six years to become the world’s largest electric vehicle battery maker.

But the future of transport is not only electric, but connected and autonomous. Due to the country’s massive market demand, China has also become a pioneer for developing and applying the latest mobility technologies. It also helps that the Chinese population is known for being open when it comes to embracing new technologies and the conveniences they bring. Paying with cash, for instance has quickly become an unusual sight in China, where even at farmers’ markets or in rural countrysides payments are done via smartphone.

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9. The Chinese government has found a pragmatic way of encouraging its people to go electric

In China, license plates are a rare commodity. In Shanghai, authorities conduct a monthly auction where license plates are sold for around 12,000 euros each. In Beijing, a license plate lottery is held every month. The chances of successfully applying for license plates for conventional cars have decreased from 6 percent in February 2011 to 0.2 percent in February 2018. However, the chances of obtaining a license plate for a new energy vehicle are 80 percent. Also, whenever air quality drops below the average in a given city, driving bans are put in place. However these bans don’t apply to users of electric cars.


10. An enormous number of Chinese people are yet to buy a car

Yes, the fleet of electric cars roaming China is extremely vast, however, it is still nothing compared to the country’s population. Even though around 1.4 billion people live in China, the vehicles per capita is small compared to other nations. In 2019, merely 179 out of 1,000 Chinese people owned a car. Whereas a high number of these people will most likely never be able to afford their own vehicle, a large number of those who will are most likely going to choose an electric car — with high chances of it being from of the numerous Chinese manufacturers.


China: A country’s determination to succeed

The government’s effort to make electric mobility desirable to consumers is not only a way to tackle the country’s pollution problems, but a part of the government’s initiative program “Made in China 2025.” The country is pushing for leadership not just in electric mobility and clean energy, but also in robotics and information technology. China is hoping to finally transition from an emerging country to one of the most powerful industrial nations on earth. Considering the high speed at which the country is developing and keeping to its schedule, the outlook of this future industrial nation is looking quite prominent. After all, it managed to reach its goal of cutting 40 percent of green house emissions by 2020 three years ahead of time in 2017.