The Chinese New Energy Vehicle market China EV Sales for H1 2017

The Chinese New Energy Vehicle market China EV Sales for H1 2017



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China EV Sales H1 2017, a summary

We look at the Top brands and models, the gainers and losers and how the battle between battery electric (BEV) and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) technologies play out in the summary of China EV Sales H1 2017.

The highlights for Chinese electric car sales in H1 2017 was:

  • Chinese EV Sales grew by 38.3% Year-on-Year or by more than 44,000 units over the same period in 2016;
  • The H1 2017 semester got off to a bad start with one of the worst months in the last three years but recovered with the months of May and June registering the third and fourth best sales ever.
  • More than four pure electric vehicles were sold for every plug-in hybrid in a market where there are 44 BEV models available to the consumer and only fifteen PHEVs;
  • Twenty new models, most of them BEV’s, were available to consumers in this semester compared to the same period in 2016;
  • The Top 2 EV Brands in the China remained the same but one of last year’s top performers, JAC, spectacularly fell out of the Top 3.

The Chinese New Energy Vehicle market: China EV Sales for H1 2017

The Top Electric Vehicle Brands for 2017 H1 in China


The Top 3 EV brands in China for the first half of 2017 were BYD, BAIC, and Zhidou. Although BYD hung on to its first place, it sees its lead evaporate. BYD hardly registered any sales in the January 2017, and lost sales in its top performing Qin and Tang model ranges to competing new models from BAIC, Chery, and SAIC Roewe. BYD, one of the largest EV brands in the world, is seeing its position as China’s best performing EV brand challenged as it lost over 20% of its sales compared to 2016, while its competitor BAIC more doubled its sales. BAIC benefited from exciting new models entering the market in the last 12 months, with its small hatch, the BAIC EC180 being a top performer for three of the six months ending up the second best selling EV for the semester. Smaller EVs, or City cars, have also performed very well with the popular Zhidou Geely D2 selling nearly 20,000 units. Another brand with small EV models, Zotye, was placed fourth due to the popularity of its Cloud 100, E200 and E30 models. Other Top 10 Chinese EV brands selling city cars included Chery and JMC, both placed in the Top 10. Although JAC brought the exciting JAC iEV6S small SUV to market it was not enough to withstand the onslaught of its peers, crashing out of the Top 3 to the eight position. Tesla also entered the Top 10 list with the Model X performing very well (please note the June 2017 Tesla data did not make it in time for our analysis, which would have aided the brand’s performance). Western brands such as Volvo, BMW through its local partner BMW Brilliance, Daimler and GM mostly gave up market share to Chinese-produced vehicles.

The Chinese New Energy Vehicle market: China EV Sales for H1 2017


The Top Electric Vehicle Models for 2017 H1 in China

Twenty new EV models entered the Chinese EV market in the first half of 2017 but only three, the BAIC EC180, SAIC Roewe eRX5 and BYD Song DM, made it to the Top 10 list of electric vehicles in China. None of last years Top 5 could hang on to their positions with two of the new models, the BAIC EC180 and SAIC Roewe eRX5, entering the market with Top 5 positions within three months from being launched. Last year’s Top 3 EVs, the BYD Tang, BAIC E200, and BYD Qin all crashed out, with the BYD Tang the only model able to hold on to a Top 10 position. Plug-in Hybrid vehicles could only muster three positions in the Top 20 as small city EVs made up more than half of the units sold in 2017 to date. The popular SUV class accounted for 26% of the units sold in the Top 20 list of EVs in China while plug-in hybrids only accounted for 16% of all the EVs sold. New electric vehicle models made up 31% of all the EVs sold during the period under review.

The Chinese New Energy Vehicle market: China EV Sales for H1 2017


Electric Vehicle Models for 2017 H1 in China, the losers

BYD’s ailing fortunes are clear in the list of losers for the first half of 2017 but another popular EV brand from 2016, Kandi, saw diminishing sales as its Kandi K17 Cyclone could not compete with the host of new small city cars entering the Chinese EV market. Clear again is the composition of plug-in hybrids and foreign brands in the list of the worst performing electric cars.

The Chinese New Energy Vehicle market: China EV Sales for H1 2017


The battle between BEV and PHEV models in China

Plug-in hybrid models are losing the battle in China, strange though that 35% of the new models launched in the last 12 months are PHEVs. In the comparable period in 2016 plug-in electric vehicles made up 33% of all the units sold while the vehicle type only contributed to 16% of all sales in 2017.

The Chinese New Energy Vehicle market: China EV Sales for H1 2017

A detailed breakdown of all electric vehicles sold in China for the first half of 2017


The Chinese New Energy Vehicle market: China EV Sales for H1 2017

Be sure to check out our new presentation of all EVs since 2010 to gain great insights on all auto brands and their electric vehicle strategies. We have also created presentations per technology type BEV, PHEV, and FCEV.

Interested in finding the best electric vehicle for you? Download our fun and easy app below, set your preferred technology, price, and range and swipe left the models you don’t like, right the ones you do, enter the chat rooms and share your thoughts with the community.


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Top 10 Electric Vehicle Brands: Dedication and focus win!

Top 10 Electric Vehicle Brands: Dedication and focus win!

Analyzing the Top 10 Electric Vehicle Brands

Electric vehicle sales have breached the 2 million unit mark internationally in 2016, and most automakers have committed to an electric vehicle strategy, some more aggressive than others and in the minority of cases not having a strategy is also seen to be a strategy. The Top 10 Electric Vehicle Brands constitutes a good proxy to evaluate trends within the market and to determine the reason for a brand’s success or failure. Also, as we reach the halfway mark to the point where electric vehicles are expected to reach between 9% and 11% of the total vehicle fleet by 2025, a look into the Top 10 will provide guidance on the expected winners and losers as the disruptive nature of the technology takes effect.


Top 10 Electric Vehicle Brands as a percentage of the total market

Top 10 electric vehicle brands wattev2buyTop 10 electric vehicle brands wattev2buy

Sales of the Top 10 Electric Vehicle Brands constitute 65% of all electric vehicle (EV’s) sales, and for the Top 10 BEV list, 85% of all pure electric or Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV’s) are from the Top 10 Brands in the segment. However, the trend on both lists is on the decline as more and more brands participate in the market. The Top 10 Brands in the pure electric space owns a bigger percentage of the market segment as BEV’s requires more specialization and greater risk. Due to the high cost of battery technology and range anxiety, most automakers excluded themselves from the pure electric segment, providing a golden opportunity for a few dedicated brands to seize the opportunity and leapfrog their competitors into the coming decade.


 Top 10 Plug-In Electric Vehicle Brands

Top 10 EV Brands

The following interesting point emerges when comparing the Top 10 Electric Vehicle Brands positions in 2012 with the overall standings and the latest standings in 2016:

  • Chevrolet’s annual sales in 2016 are only marginally higher (1.7% CAGR) than it’s sales back in 2012, while the automaker nearly lost its position on the Top 10 list, regaining some stature in 2016 through a nearly doubling of its Chevrolet Volt sales.
  • Nissan remained successful with its only passenger model, the Nissan Leaf while sales of the commercial van, the  e-NV200 only amounts to around 8,500 units internationally. Having only one model over the period, however, cost the automaker its overall top spot to Tesla and BYD who had two models or more with multiple configurations.
  • Tesla’s overall position is significant, especially if one take into consideration the price point of its models compared to its competitors on the Top 10 list.
  • The rise of Tesla and BYD, being of the few companies which only focus on electric vehicles, goes to show the advantage dedicated and focussed EV manufacturers have over those that are tied to combustion vehicles. Both these companies are now busy with second and third generation products going into the third decade of the century, at a time when most competitors will only bring their first pure electric models to market.
  • Toyota has been the disappointment on the list, giving up the first-mover advantage it had with the Toyota Prius. Toyota is one of the automakers who’s strategy veered away from electric vehicles to Fuel Cell Vehicles. The company discontinued its Prius model in 2015 and brought it back in 2017, with hardly any significant increase in battery performance.
  • BMW’s strategy to early on bring Plug-in Hybrid versions off most of its models has helped the company climb in the rankings. Most of the sales of the German automaker can be attributed to the BMW i3 and BMW i3REx of which the company sold around 70,000 units internationally.
  • Ford is the other disappointing manufacturer, with the company completely disappearing off the list, even with two PHEV models and one BEV in its stable. The biggest reason for Ford’s disappointing performance is its lack of international sales outside of the USA and Canada.
  • Renault also lost in the rankings despite having various models due to limited international sales.
  • The Chinese dominance is evident from the number of Chinese-based auto manufacturers entering the list in 2016, with top performer BYD claiming the top spot in 2015 and 2016, taking the company to an overall third position. BYD’s success also proves Warren Buffets mastery, as the world’s second richest man invested in BYD back in 2008.
  • Note – The 2017 data is skewed with underperforming Chinese sales in January due to the Chinese New Year and the Chinese government clamping down on subsidy fraud. The 2017 data is further skewed with the inclusion of USA, Swedish, Norwegian and Dutch sales for February and only some countries January data being available at the time of going to press.


Top 10 Battery Electric Vehicle Brands

Top 10 BEV Brands wattEV2buy

Looking at the Top 10 Electric Vehicle Brands list when one only include Battery Electric Vehicles an entirely different picture emerges in many respects:

  • Most of the traditional “Big Auto” brands are missing from the list.
  • Chinese manufacturers, BYD, BAIC, Zotye, Chery, Kandi, JMC, and JAC, comprise six out of the Top 10 overall positions and seven of the Top 10 in 2016.
  • The Top 3 BEV manufacturers in 2016 correspond to the Top 3 overall for all EV’s sold in the previous table, confirming the importance of focussing on BEV’s.
  • VW has committed to a strategy shift towards electric vehicles, but it is evident judging from the 2016 data that the company needs to make hay not to fall short.


Electric Vehicles are entering the growth market phase in some countries

With EV sales rapidly climbing in 2016 and countries such as Norway now reaching EV sales of over 30% of new vehicles, owning an EV is not just an environmental requirement anymore drawing early adopters. Owning an EV’s has become cool and entering the growth phase in markets such as Norway and The Netherlands, where a couple of “Big Auto” manufacturers have opted to target the mainstream market through bringing Plug-In Hybrid versions of existing models. Many of the “Big Auto” brands are play stalling tactics by calling for the easing of emission standards or blocking Tesla’s direct sales model. Meanwhile, they are falling further and further behind in a market that is becoming ever more popular. Most of these manufacturers might be of the early movers top 10 electric vehiclesopinion to follow a wait and see approach, hoping that the first mover’s trips and falls due to the high risk and cost, with the intention to swoop in later with their big budgets to poach talent and ideas.  We will analyze the tussle between Battery Electric Vehicles and Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles in a follow-up post.





Picture Ellon Musk: The New Yorker