China drives global electric car market

China drives global electric car market
Published: 13 January 2019 - 4:30 a.m.
By: Baset Asaba

Outside China, few drivers have heard of brands such as Hit BYD or Beijing Automobile Works. But they're two of the largest players in the world's biggest market for electric cars.

For a decade, the Chinese government has coaxed buyers and manufacturers into the electric vehicle market through subsidies and other incentives.

The numbers suggest the strategy worked: the International Energy Agency says China buys more than half of the world's new electric cars.

Now, the government is set to push the burden onto manufacturers, through a new "cap and trade" system and rules that make it harder to set up a factory to make combustion-engine cars.

The rules were believed to have come into force on 1 January this year.

Small but growing rapidly

China is both the biggest manufacturer and the biggest market for cars globally.

But after two decades of rapid expansion, sales fell in 2018 by 6% to 22.7 million units.

The most recent figures show that New Energy Vehicles (NEVs) - a category which includes electric and hybrid models - has defied that trend, growing substantially over the past year.

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