Originally published on EV Obsession.
Electric vehicle sales in China are continuing to grow, but much of this growth is caused directly by the myriad incentives on offer in the country, rather than organic demand driven by pure consumer interest.
With the uptick largely being pushed by government action, it’s hard to say at this point whether the goal to put 5 million “new energy vehicles” on the country’s roads by 2020 will be met.
So far in 2015 (first 9 months), plug-in vehicle sales have risen to 136,733 units sold — more than doubling the sales seen during the same period of time in 2014. So, the numbers certainly are growing.
Wards Auto provides more:
“EV sales rely heavily on government policy,” says Yale Zhang, managing director of Shanghai-based consultancy Automotive Foresight.
Beijing Municipality is a perfect example. In June, the government began exempting (electric vehicles) EVs from rush-hour restrictions keeping vehicles off the road for one day a week. That exemption coincides closely with the sales explosion at Li’s BAIC dealership.
“The EVs are a second car for most buyers. They use them to get to work. You can drive an EV every day in Beijing.”
Notably, purchase tax exemptions and other efforts made by the Chinese government didn’t really seem to be particularly effective (though certainly effective to some degree)… until the recent additional move to exempt EVs from rush hour restrictions. I wonder what that says about longer-term EV sales trends in China? Will EV sales plateau as soon as the incentives hit the point of diminishing returns? Or will the market take off once consumers get used to the cars?