close
close

Deciphering Secrets Behind the Rise of China’s NEVs-Xinhua

Visitors watch the demonstration of a battery swap station from Chinese brand NIO at the Beijing International Automotive Exhibition 2024 in Shunyi District, Beijing, capital of China, April 25, 2024. (Xinhua/Ju Huanzong)

BEIJING, April 28 (Xinhua) — Attending China’s largest auto show, it is impossible to ignore the popularity of new energy vehicles (NEVs), which are transforming the world’s largest auto market at an intense pace.

Organizers revealed that 117 new models will make their debut at the ongoing 18th Beijing International Automotive Exhibition (Auto China 2024), which runs until May 4. A total of 278 NEVs will be on display, with Chinese NEVs being the superstars of the show.

Their advanced technologies, customer-friendly novelties and affordability have amazed visitors at the fair and underlined how China’s NEV sector has managed to progress over the past decade.

CHINA SPEED

“What are we focused on? Speed. Chinese speed,” said David Slump, president and CEO of Marelli, a leading global auto supplier betting on China’s booming new energy and smart vehicle sectors.

During an interview with Xinhua at the Beijing Auto Show, Slump highlighted the speed of technology, the speed of delivery, the speed of production and the speed of market development, a blistering pace that he said was important for the company and the industry.

The show kicked off shortly after green vehicles reached a milestone in China, accounting for more than half of the country’s passenger car sales in the first two weeks of April.

This milestone has been achieved much earlier than the country’s original target of 2035.

According to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, Chinese NEV sales rose 37.9 percent year-on-year to about 9.5 million last year, compared to just 75,000 a decade ago.

Robots weld car bodies in a workshop of Chinese electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer Li Auto Inc. in Changzhou, east China’s Jiangsu province, January 10, 2024. (Xinhua/Ji Chunpeng)

COMPETITIVE MARKET

Competition in China’s NEV industry has become fiercer, with both domestic and international brands rushing to announce price cuts and release new models in a bid to secure market share.

Last week, Chinese EV brand Li Auto announced it would cut prices on several of its models by up to 30,000 yuan (about $4,225), promising to refund the difference to owners who purchased these models earlier this year.

Price cuts in the first quarter of 2024, especially related to NEV models, are equivalent to 60 percent of the price cuts in all of 2023 and equal to the price cuts made in all of 2022, said Cui Dongshu, secretary general of the China Passenger Auto Association.

Industry analysts indicated that this intense competition is due to the transition of China’s NEV sector from a period of massive investment to a mature market – one that will likely be reduced to a few leading companies.

“It is difficult to see the competition decreasing in the short term,” said Gu Huinan, general manager of GAC AION, which unveiled its new NEV model AION V at the ongoing Beijing show.

Gu viewed increasing NEV competition as a boost for the industry as it catalyzes technological innovation and fosters an industrial ecosystem.

“It forces automakers to make progress, and only those with a complete industrial chain, advanced production capacity to minimize costs, rapid technological innovation and a flexible mechanism to adapt to market changes are expected to survive,” Gu said.

The fierce market competition will accelerate changes in the industry and help China transform into a global auto manufacturing powerhouse, Gu said.

OPEN INNOVATION

Continuous innovation and input in research and development have turned China’s NEVs from like-minded people into champions. Such efforts not only stimulate domestic growth, but also stimulate innovation in the global automotive landscape.

CATL, a leading Chinese battery manufacturer, has launched a new battery at the Beijing Auto Show, a world first that offers a range of 1,000 km and supports ultra-fast charging.

This breakthrough allows a range of 600 km to be achieved with just 10 minutes of charging, which equates to a charging speed of “1 kilometer per second”.

“Innovation is the main driver of our continuous development,” a CATL spokesperson told Xinhua, adding that the company invests heavily in research and development, which totaled 18.4 billion yuan last year.

As the world translates the climate consensus into action, many obstacles remain. Technological inequality persists and some countries are slowing the pace of transition to green energy, posing challenges in advancing a sustainable future for the world. “Today we must unite like never before to tackle these pressing challenges, and I believe an open approach to innovation is the solution,” the spokesperson said.

CATL shares its battery technology with its partners through an innovative model of licensing, royalties and service. “By sharing battery technology and building and operating battery factories, we support our partners in building their own factories and ultimately producing their own batteries.”

WIN-WIN COLLABORATION

At the current Beijing auto show, the exhibition stands of Volkswagen and Chinese EV maker XPENG are standing next to each other, indicating the close cooperation between the two companies.

In February, Volkswagen agreed to conduct a strategic technical collaboration with XPENG to develop two intelligent, connected vehicle models for the Chinese market.

This came after the German automaker announced a substantial $700 million investment in XPENG last year, acquiring a nearly 5 percent stake in the company to jointly develop and produce electric vehicles.

NEV industry players are seeking closer collaboration to tap the growing market. As the Chinese NEV market continues to flourish, the tailwind is blowing outside China, providing more opportunities for the global sector.

“We not only produce quality vehicles, but work with our partners around the world to build a new ecosystem that is open and innovative, and expand the group of friends for a win-win cooperation,” said Yin Tongyue, chairman of the Chinese car manufacturer. Chery Automobile Co., Ltd.