China has become a relatively rich market for Electric vehicles (EVs) in recent times, and companies like Tesla have pounced on the opportunity. China posted a record number of EVs sold in the country in 2020 despite the global downturn of the automotive industry due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to data presented by TradingPlatforms.com, 1.3M EVs were sold in China in 2020 – a rise of 8% YoY but is projected to grow by over 51% in 2021 to almost 2M.
EVs enter mainstream, China one of promising markets despite negative effects of pandemic
EVs have entered the automotive mainstream in recent times with Tesla setting the tone for affordable and yet stylish EVs. In 2019, the global EV market was valued at just over $162B and is expected to see tremendous growth in the next decade. The global EV market is projected to have a compound annual growth rate of 22.12% in the period from 2019-2026 and rise to a value of almost $803B in 2026.
China is a particularly strong market for EVs where a record number of EVs were sold in 2020. However, recent policy changes around the EV industry in China and the more recent Coronavirus pandemic slowed down the strong momentum EVs once generated. Despite this, the number of EVs sold in China still saw a modest increase of 8% YoY from 2019-2020 to a record 1.3M units sold.
Demand is also expected to rebound after 2020’s sharp downturn for the entire industry and EV sales are projected to increase by over 51% to almost 2M EVs sold. Automotive industry expert Chris Jones noted: “Prospects are very good for China’s EV market in 2021. There is already an excellent network of standardized public EV chargers in China, good government support and now a return to strong consumer demand.”
SAIC-GM-Wuling and Tesla carried Chinese EV industry through turbulent times
Two brands and their vehicles carried the Chinese EV industry through a difficult period caused by the pandemic; SAIC-GM-Wuling and Tesla. The Tesla Model 3 was the most popular EV in China for a time until the Wuling Hong Guang Mini EV entered the market in the middle of 2020. As of July 2020, the Tesla Model 3 was the most registered new electric car in China with the Wuling Hong Guang Mini EV already following closely behind.
An estimated 11,000 Model 3’s had been registered by that period while 7,250 Wuling Hong Guang Mini EV had already been registered despite deliveries only starting in the same month. By the end of 2020, SAIC-GM-Wuling had become the most popular EV brand in China with an estimated 177,000 units in car sales compared to Tesla’s 137,460 units.
The two brands offer two very different EVs and yet found shared success that carried the Chinese EV market through a difficult time. Jones further notes: “If it had not been for the huge success of these two very different EVs, the Chinese EV market would have declined in 2020. Between them, the two models represented one in five of all EVs sold in China.”