China may become 21st century automotive hub

China may become 21st century automotive hub

With the ‘electrification’ revolution set to reshape the global auto industry, the government in China has notable efforts underway to ensure than the country establishes itself as the world’s 21st century automotive hub, similar to Detroit (US) in the 20th century.

Since automakers and governments across the world are making significant plans for the production of electric vehicles (EVs) and their widespread adoption by consumers, China’s sheer size (in terms of population) and accumulating wealth will apparently enable the country to lead the EV revolution.

In 2017, vehicles sales in China surpassed the US vehicle sales by a substantial 68%. With the worldwide sales of electric-only cars having crossed the ‘1 million’ mark for the first time, more than 50% of these sales were attributable to China. The country is now aiming at sales of 7 million EVs by 2025.

China is particularly recording a big surge in sales in the broader category of NEVs -- New Energy Vehicles -- which include plug-in hybrids, along with electric-only vehicles. While the major Chinese automakers include Geely and BYD, the local EV startup NIO is also positioning itself to take on US electric vehicle maker Tesla Motors.

The Chinese government plans to make vehicle emission rules and quotas for producing zero- or low-emission vehicles more stringent for automakers in 2019. Meanwhile, for consumers, the government spent nearly $1 billion on EV subsidies in 2017, but may eliminate the subsidies by 2020.