The Chinese market had a record 43,441 new electric cars zooming the streets in November, up 36% over last October and 56% year over year (YoY), pulling the plug-in market share to a record 1.4%, above the USA (1.1%) and Europe (1.2%).
With the market share continuing to rise bit by bit, the Chinese EV market will end the year at over 350,000 new electric cars, pulling the total plug-in fleet to over 650,000 units, which will be the largest in the world, above the US (560,000) and Europe (630,000).
In November, the upcoming incentive changes reshaped the ranking, with plenty of cheap, small EVs experiencing a surge, no doubt linked to dealership registrations from people wanting to cash in on the current subsidies.
As such, three small EVs jumped into the top 5, with one of them (Zotye Cloud EV) collecting the best-seller trophy with over 5,000 units.
Here are last month’s top 5 best-selling models:
#1 – Zotye Cloud EV: One of many electric “cars” on sale in China, the Zotye Cloud EV has the advantage of offering five doors, some equipment features, (like a 7-inch color infotainment system, which is where the name comes from — “Cloud,” get it?), and a usable range (150 kilometers) thanks to an 18 kWh battery. Is this enough to explain the record 5,024 registrations in November? No, but the upcoming incentives reduction is. …
#2 – Geely Emgrand EV: Geely, one of the largest carmakers in China, which is also the owner of Volvo and LTI (producer of the iconic black cab from London), recently joined the EV circle by selling the Emgrand EV, an electric conversion of its successful middle-of-the-road sedan. Last month was the most successful to date for this car, with 3,799 registrations, allowing it to join for the first time the top 5. With okay looks and good-but-not-outstanding specs (127 hp, 0–100 km/h in 9.9 seconds, 253 km range from a 45 kWh lithium battery), Geely is hoping to make a good first entry into the market, stealing sales from BYD and BAIC sedans … while the much more appealing Lynk & Co plug-ins do not arrive.
#3 – BAIC EU260: Beijing Auto’s new poster-child for success, the EU260, this time was down to 3,769 registrations, but that’s still enough to win another podium seat, this time in third. Sitting at the heart of the plug-in sedan market, with compelling specs (260 kilometers of range, 0–100 km/h in 9 seconds), this model is giving BYD sedans a run for their money and will be a strong contender for gold in 2017.
#4 – Zotye E200: The top of the pile of the two-seater-Smart-alike lineup from Zotye, this model has some impressive specs, even shaming Smart itself. With 220 kilometers of range coming from a 25 kWh battery, 80 hp, a 120 km/h top speed, and fast-charging capability, the E200 feels like a winner. Helped by the incentives boost, this model reached a record 3,500 registrations in November.
#5 – Chery eQ: The funky little hatchback is on the rise, having beaten again Chery’s monthly record, with 3,233 registrations, earning its second consecutive top 5 spot. Unlike the Zotye Cloud EV, the eQ feels more car-like, with a 22 kWh battery, 200 kilometers of range, 56 hp, and suitable safety equipment (airbags, ABS…).
Year-to-Date Ranking – The Legend of Zotye
With some 70(!) models on sale, the Chinese EV market is by far the most dynamic on earth, with plenty of surprises and changes.
Whereas the top 3 models remained unchanged (strangely, all in “Slow Selling” mode), the following positions saw plenty of changes, with the BAIC EU260 jumping to #4. Now fewer than 100 units away from its smaller brother — BAIC E-Series EV — and with the BYD Qin in the line of sight, Beijing’s sedan will try to take away the silver medal from its direct competitor.
But the “Climber of the Month” award went to the Zotye Cloud EV. Jumping to #6 thanks to a record 5,024 units, it is now the best-selling city EV in the ranking. But with the Chery eQ also running strong and only some 800 units behind, this class 2016 title is still open to discussion.
Deserved mentions go to the Geely Emgrand EV, rising to #10 thanks to 3,769 sales. In a memorable month for Zotye, its E200 city car also impressed, beating again its personal record. With 3,500 sales, it jumped three positions to #11, becoming one of the surprises of the month.
Looking at the manufacturer ranking, leader BYD lost 2% share, falling to 31%, and it was the first time in years we didn’t see a single BYD in the monthly top 5 — a case of waning demand, retooling for the lithium-equipped 2017 edition of their models, or both? Again, though, the fading incentives for city cars was part of the challenge that no BYD model could overcome.
BAIC (14%) is firm in 2nd Place, while Zotye (11%, up 3%) secured the 3rd spot, ahead of SAIC and Zhidou (both with 6% share).
An always popular debate is Tesla’s performance in China. While many commenters have classified it as a failure for not topping the sales ranking as in other markets, let’s not forget two facts:
- One, domestic carmakers have 95% of the market;
- Two, of the remaining 5% that’s left to foreign brands, 3% belong to Tesla, so in fact Tesla is outselling all other foreign brands in China … combined.
And that’s despite having no local production, thus paying heavy import taxes. If that is not success, I don’t know what is.
Finally, looking at the breakdown between BEVs and PHEVs, unlike other markets where plug-in hybrids have the upper hand, all-electric cars just keep on improving their market share, now at 75%, up 3% relative to last month.
|1||Zotye Cloud EV||5,024||14,802|
|2||Geely Emgrand / Dorsett EV||3,799||11,158|
|3||BAIC EU260 / D50 EV||3,769||18,496|
|8||Zhidou D1 EV||1,923||10,710|
|11||BYD Qin EV300||1,215||10,137|
|13||Tesla Model S||937||7,440|
|14||SAIC Roewe 550 PHEV / e550||925||14,525|
|15||JAC i EV 4||776||9,046|
|16||BAIC E-Series EV||735||18,587|
|17||Zhidou D2 EV||703||7,744|
|19||Changan Eado EV||216||4,335|
|20||Kandi K17 Cyclone||6,104|