China looks set to fall well short of its targets for electric car sales in 2015 and 2020, according to an analysis by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF).
The government had fixed on a cumulative sales target of 500,000 plug-in electric, plug-in hybrid and battery electric vehicles by 2015, rising to five million by 2020 as part of its New Energy Vehicle Industrial Plan.
But BNEF estimates that, even under a very optimistic scenario, cumulative sales will only amount to 343,000 by 2015 and just over one million by 2020 – only 20% of the official target.
The report blames the high cost of electric vehicles, despite government subsidies, for the lack of interest among drivers, as well as the lack of the charging infrastructure and a string of accidents involving electric vehicles.
The Chinese market is also hampered by a shortage of the technological expertise in the supply chain, says BNEF, and hesitancy among the leading manufacturers.
The report says that Chinese carmakers have not yet fully committed to the launch of mainstream electric vehicles for fear of investing in the wrong technology. Many of the leading companies appear to be waiting for the publication of the government’s 2012-2020 industrial plan.
“China is making a big bet on electric vehicles. But it will need to bring in expertise and technology from foreign players to create competitive vehicles, and to deploy the full muscle of its auto industry in order to produce vehicles the public trusts,” says Michael Liebreich, chief executive of BNEF.
“If it does this, we could well see sales in 2020 creeping closer to the target and China playing a leading international role. But the chances of China going it alone in electric vehicle, and as a result leapfrogging the world’s auto majors, are looking very slim,” he cautions.
For further information:
UK government incentives for electric vehicles not working (21-Sept)
UK low emission vehicle sales start to accelerate (14-Sept)
One million ‘turned on’ to electric vehicles, says Nissan (26-Jun)
BYD to start selling electric cars to Chinese drivers (2-Nov 2011)
25 October 2012