Driv­ing along the road that leads to a sus­tain­able fu­ture

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - BUSINESS - By LI FUSHENG li­fusheng@chi­nadaily.com.cn

New en­ergy cars are open­ing up a greener fu­ture for mo­torists in China .

In the first five months of this year, 136,000 fuel-ef­fi­cient ve­hi­cles, such as plug-in hy­brids and bat­tery cell cars, were sold in the coun­try, a jump of 7.8 per­cent, ac­cord­ing to the China As­so­ci­a­tion of Au­to­mo­bile Man­u­fac­tur­ers or CAAM.

Sales could reach 700,000 units by the end of this year, a re­port by Ping An Se­cu­ri­ties, a fi­nan­cial com­pany, stated. Up to 500,000 of them could be pas­sen­ger cars, while the fig­ures could in­crease fur­ther in 2018.

“Although the over­all car mar­ket is cool­ing down com­pared to last year, new en­ergy car sales have been ro­bust,” said Xu Haidong, a se­nior of­fi­cial at CAAM. This trend ap­pears to be backed up by a sur­vey from Nielsen China, a ma­jor re­search com­pany. A poll of 2,307 po­ten­tial car buy­ers showed that 27 per­cent fa­vored pur­chas­ing purely elec­tric cars, while 25 per­cent were in­ter­ested in plug-in hy­brids.

The ris­ing pop­u­lar­ity has had a great deal to do with the lat­est mileage fig­ures from new en­ergy ve­hi­cles.

In 2016, a sin­gle charge equated to 164 kilo­me­ters. Now, the lat­est mod­els have a dis­tance of 252 kilo­me­ters.

A joint re­port by KPMG China and Au­to­mo­tive Fore­sight con­firmed there were also other rea­sons for the jump in de­mand for green cars.

Based on a sur­vey of 220 mo­torists, the re­search groups found that govern­ment sub­si­dies were con­sid­ered an im­por­tant fac­tor, es­pe­cially in ma­jor cities with car li­cense plate quo­tas. Po­ten­tial buy­ers also pointed out that lower main­te­nance costs and en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion ben­e­fits were also cru­cial.

Although con­cerns, such as mileage, charg­ing sta­tions and the length of time it takes, still ex­ist, nearly 50 per­cent of new en­ergy ve­hi­cle own­ers would pur­chase a sec­ond model.

“Chi­nese con­sumers are re­al­is­tic, and they have very clear ex­pec­ta­tions about how they see elec­tric ve­hi­cles in their daily lives, as well as in wider so­ci­ety,” said Yale Zhang, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of con­sult­ing firm Au­to­mo­tive Fore­sight in Shang­hai.

Many of those sur­veyed felt a sin­gle mileage charge should be around 350 km.

This is ba­si­cally in line with Nielsen’s find­ings and is fuel- ing re­search and devel­op­ment at tra­di­tional car­mak­ers.

Volk­swa­gen AG is work­ing on elec­tric ve­hi­cles that will have a range of 300 km and hopes to dou­ble that fig­ure with new tech­nol­ogy.

Denza, a joint ven­ture be­tween BYD Auto Co Ltd and Daim­ler AG, and based in Shen­zhen, is rolling out mod­els with a range of more than 400 km.

Other auto groups are also in­vest­ing heav­ily to in­crease their mar­ket share in this boom­ing sec­tor.

Ear­lier this year, Chi­nese and in­ter­na­tional car com­pa­nies show­cased more than 150 new en­ergy mod­els at the Shang­hai In­ter­na­tional Au­to­mo­bile In­dus­try Ex­hi­bi­tion.

“It is a good time for com­pa­nies when a new sec­tor de­vel­ops . . . it is also a tough time as com­pe­ti­tion is ex­tremely fierce,” said Olive Zhang, vi­cepres­i­dent of Nielsen China.

Still, in­creased mileage is just one item on mo­torists’ “wish lists”.

Many would like to see au­tonomous driv­ing fea­tures, such as au­to­matic park­ing, ac­cord­ing to the KPMG re­port.

In ad­di­tion, about 65 per­cent of re­spon­dents said they would be pre­pared to “share elec­tric ve­hi­cle” pro­grams, although they would still want to own their own cars.

“Elec­tric cars should meet Chi­nese cus­tomers’ mo­bil­ity needs, such as of­fer­ing com­muter com­fort,” Zhang, of Au­to­mo­tive Fore­sight, said. “And they should rev­o­lu­tionise the way that fu­ture mo­bil­ity will shape so­ci­ety.

“They should also be equipped with ad­vanced tech­nol­ogy, both au­tonomous and sharing,” Zhang added. “Most im­por­tantly, they should im­prove con­sumers’ life­styles.”

ZHANG JINGANG / FOR CHINA DAILY

A vis­i­tor looks at a new en­ergy car at the 2017 Shang­hai auto show.

YU FANGPING / FOR CHINA DAILY

A con­sumer browses at re­frig­er­a­tors at a Haier store in Qing­dao, Shan­dong prov­ince.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.