China keeps pole position in Electromobility

September 12, 2016 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Despite a considerable hype around electromobility among German carmakers, the Chinese market holds an unassailable lead in terms of units. If one looks at the growth figures, Germany also lags far behind any comparable economy. Market researcher Center of Automotive Management (CAM) this week came up with the latest figures. They show a very mixed picture.

At a global level, the electromobility growth is driven in the first place by the Chinese market. In the first eight month of the current year, in China about 240.000 electric vehicles have been sold, including electric passenger cars and buses. The number of new e-car registrations therefore grew by 123%, their market share reached 1.7%. Market leaders are manufacturer BYD with its models Tang and Qin as well as the E-series vehicles from BAIX and the Roewe 4550 from SAIC. The Chinese market is dominated by domestic brands and manufacturers; the only foreign vendor is Tesla with its Model S, ranking number 19. In recognising the difficulties for foreign vendors to gain much traction in the Chinese e-mobility market, Volkswagen this week announced a joint venture with local company JAC to develop and sell electric cars.

In the United States, new registrations climbed 30% over the 2015 figures. More than 93.000 electric cars have been sold, with about 50.000 of them being battery electric vehicles (BEVs). However, the growth in the BEV segment amounted to just 11%. Market leader is Tesla; the company’s S and X models alone accounted for more than 50 percent of the sales. The Nissan Leaf has a market share of 16%, BMW’s i3 achieved 11%. In comparison with BEVs, Plug-in hybrids (PEVs) were significantly more successful: Driven mainly by demand for the Chevrolet Volt and the Ford Fusion Energi, their sales surged 64%.

In Europe, Norway continues to have its special status. In the first eight months of the current year, the small country with just 5.2 million inhabitants, saw 28.000 new registrations of electric cars, a plus of 37% over 2015. Also in the United Kingdom demand grew significantly;  about 33% more electric cars were acquired than 2015. Like in the US, PEVs gained disproportionately at a growth rate of 41%. In France, the demand for electric vehicles grew 45%, with 75% of them accounting for PEVs, the remainder for BEVs.