BEIJING — The Chinese EV market is now transitioning from research and development to industrialization, and is expected to gain greater traction this year with the continued support from both central and local governments, according to an industry analyst.
Production and sales volume of EVs totaled 8,368 units and 8,159 units respectively during 2011, both up significantly from the previous year, according to data released by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. With 243 EV charging stations and 1,328 EV charging poles completed and put in operation last year, China became the largest country worldwide in terms of the number of such charging stations and poles, according to the same data.
Wang Chuanfu, Chairman of Chinese carmaker BYD, said that the number of new energy vehicles on the road is expected to increase significantly this year with the further promotion of the vehicles across the country, and 2012 will be an important year for the development of the market. And according to the government planning for the new energy vehicle market, the number of EVs on the road is expected to reach one million units by the end of 2020.
The Chinese electric car industry is now at a critical period of development as it has made great strides in technology, while industry players are facing fiercer competition from international counterparts who have significantly stepped up their efforts in the development and production of new models, said Fu Yuwu, secretary of Society of Automotive Engineering of China. Competition, in turn, will accelerate the development of the industry, he added.
Many Chinese cities, including Shenzhen, Hangzhou, Wuhan and Hefei, have enhanced their efforts to promote EVs through a variety of measures, including subsidy programs and government procurement. Industry analysts indicated that among all Chinese cities, Shenzhen, Hangzhou and Hefei have been recognized as the largest advocates promoting the sale and use of EVs. Shenzhen plans to bring 3,500 EVs onto its roads this year, including 2,000 pure and hybrid electric cars to be bought by the local government as bulk-bought government vehicles. Both Hangzhou and Hefei target growing the usage of the vehicles on their respective roads to 20,000 EVs for this year, while only 1,374 and 781 electric cars, respectively, were being driven in the two cities last year.
In addition, some cities without EV manufacturers said that they also have developed EV promotion initiatives. According to the EV promotion program of the government of Foshan, a city in Guangdong province, a fleet of 550 EVs is expected to hit the city’s roads by the end of this year. And a number of Chinese cities have developed promotional plans for EVs during the 12th five-year period (2011-2015). Among such plans, Jilin intends to increase its EV production to 200,000 units by 2015, while Hebei and Anhui provinces, as well as Beijing and Shanghai, propose to expand EV capacities to 530,000 units and 500,000 units, 460,000 units and 300,000 units, respectively.