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It’s true. Whereas many of us in North America and Western Europe particularly, are finding it tough to embrace EVs; preferring Hybrids when it comes to green motoring, in China, the opposite is true.
The world’s largest auto market is experiencing growing pains, namely heft increases in air pollution and congestion over the last three decades. As a result, in an attempt to combat the problem, the Chinese government has introduced fairly significant incentives for those consumers that purchase a car that doesn’t run purely on gasoline or diesel.
Last year, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, some 2,713 Hybrids were sold in China, out of a total of some 14.5 million cars and trucks. Yet EV sales were around double the Hybrid total; 5,655 units to be exact.
Although that number is still very small, it’s a sign that Chinese consumers are clearly showing a preference for EVs over hybrids and could predict future mobility trends in the country.
In fact, analysts at Pike Research believe that the Asia-Pacific region, driven largely by China, will become number one in sales for EVs, outpacing demand in the US. Projections for 2017 estimate a total 617,000 EVs will be sold in that part of world, which is more than double the number expected in America.
And as for the reason why, it’s largely believed that Asian preference for EVs over Hybrids is driven by the fact that in many households, electric mopeds and scooters are already common, making the step toward electric four-wheeled vehicles a fairly logical one. This contrasts sharply with the Western world where limited range and charging times are seen as a reduction in mobility, especially after decades of relying on internal combustion engines for personal transportation.
The automotive market in China right now is an interesting one, with obviously a huge consumer base to pick and choose from. It’s common knowledge that Chinese manufacturers still aren’t up to par with American, Japanese or European counterparts, and some of the major players continue to look at forming partnerships with established brands.
Chinese automaker Chery, has one of the best-selling economy cars in China, the Chery QQ, has been trying to form a joint venture with Subaru for quite some time now. But China’s National Development and Reform Commission opposed the joint venture due to the fact that Subaru is owned by Toyota and Toyota already has two joint ventures in China (the maximum allowed). It’s worth arguing though that Toyota only holds 16.5-percent of Subaru’s parent group, Fuji Heavy Industries, shares.
So in order for the joint venture to go through, Subaru would have to let Chery take the reins in China, meaning that every Subaru would be sold with a Chery badge and through a Chery-run dealer. Whether or not Subaru will agree to this has remains to be seen.