Electric vehicles captured a 1.4% share of China’s total auto market in December 2015 — equal to roughly 34,100 unit sales — according to EV-Volumes, an EV sales database and consultancy now partnering with EV Obsession and CleanTechnica. The term “electric vehicles” refers here to so-called “new energy vehicles” (NEVs) — all-electrics, plug-in hybrids, and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles.
Altogether, 2015 saw ~188,700 NEVs sold in China — a roughly 223% year-on-year increase over sales in 2014. The market share held by NEVs for the full year was around 0.9%. In addition to these impressive numbers for the consumer NEV market, there were around 124,000 electric buses + commercial vehicles deployed in the country in 2015.
With the surge in NEV sales, China has become by far the largest electric vehicle (EV) market in the world — being roughly 50% bigger than the US EV market in 2015. The substantial incentives offered to EV buyers in the country no doubt played a large part in the growth seen during the year.
The country’s overall auto market hit a highwater mark in December 2015 as well, with nearly two and a half million cars sold (~2,442,000) during the month.
EV-Volumes provides more info and context:
Also the total 2015 finished as the best sales year ever, with 21,109,000 passenger cars sold, regretfully 99.1% of them were not plug-ins, yet.
In the quarters 1 to 3, the success of BYD Qin and Tang shifted sales towards plug-in hybrids. In Q4, the mix returned to higher EV sales again, driven by high sales of mini-EVs, the same time as the two popular PHEVs (plug-in hybrids) BYD Qin and Roewe 550 had a particularly weak quarter.
BEVs have to meet tougher technical requirements for 2016, to be eligible for the generous subsidies. Their all-electric range needs to be at least 100 km, up from 80 km. Purchase subsidies depend on all-electric range and are reduced by 5000 RMB (700 €) for lower range EVs in 2016. This boosted demand for mini-EVs in Q4, before the reduction became effective.
The largest portion of NEV sales is still to mini-EVs, many of them 2-seaters below 3 meters of overall length. 2015 they stood for 40% of NEV sales, counting only EVs, they stood for 60%. Much of the growth in 2015 is still attributed to the A-segment, but they lost 9.3% share in total NEV sales. Buyers are upgrading into B- and C-Segments, as new models became available at attractive prices.
Notably, electric SUV sales in China grew considerably during the year — almost entirely on the back of the BYD Tang PHEV, which was released in June 2015.
Image Credits: EV-Volumes