China Tops Clean Vehicle Sales for Third Consecutive Year


China has emerged as the world’s biggest market for clean vehicles for the third year running, and currently accounts for more than half of all units sold around the globe.

A new report from The People’s Daily points to surging growth in China’s clean vehicle market since 2015, spurred by official policy that seeks to improve urban air quality by reducing vehicle emissions.

According to the report China saw the sale of 777,000 clean vehicles in 2017, for a year-on-year leap of 53.3%. Pure electric vehicles saw sales of 652,000, for an even more impressive YoY rise of 59.6%.

In 2016 China posted 507,000 in clean vehicle sales, for a YoY rise of 53%, while pure electric vehicles posted sales of 409,000, for a YoY rise of 65.1%.

In 2015 clean vehicle sales in China posted a staggering 3.4 fold increase to reach 331,000, while pure electric vehicles saw a 4.5 fold rise in sales to reach 247,000.

As of the end of 2017 China has seen the sale of a total of 1.8 million clean vehicles, or more than half the global total of 3.4 million units.

According to the People’s Daily report household purchases accounted for over 70% of clean passenger vehicle sales in 2017, while the vast majority of clean vehicles sold in China are pure electric vehicles, accounting for 83.9% of the total in 2017, 80.7% in 2016 and 74.6% in 2015.

The Chinese government has set a target for the production and sale of 2 million clean energy vehicles by 2020.

Xu Changming (徐长明), vice-chair of the State Information Center, said that meeting the target could prove a challenge, given that customer surveys point to dissatisfaction with pure electric vehicles on the grounds that they can only travel comparatively short distances and are inconvenient to recharge.

Xu also points out that there are no mid-range clean vehicles that cost around 500,000 yuan on the Chinese market, with the only options for consumers being either high-end products priced at more than 700,000 yuan (the Tesla model S) or cheaper vehicles that cost under 200,000 yuan after subsidies, such as the BYD 36 and the Roewe RX5.

Chen Qingtai (陈清泰), director of China EV100, said that the key to achieving electric vehicle growth would be ensuring that their cost-quality ratio and convenience can reach or even exceed that of conventional fossil fuel vehicles.

For this reason Chen says that it is imperative for China to develop adequate recharge infrastructure for clean vehicles.