Not so long ago, when electric vehicles were being touted as a true alternative to fossil fuel powered vehicles and said to be “the” next big thing, all eyes turned toward China and it’s burgeoning middle class. If anyone was going to start buying electric cars, it was thought, it would be Chinese consumers.
Fast foward a few short years and the truth is out: Chinese consumers, like just about everyone else in the world, prefer fossil fuel powered cars. Or they don’t believe electric vehicles are reliable enough or safe enough or worth the added investment required to park one in the garage.
Last year China sold just a handful, 7,000 to be precise, electric vehicles. The Chinese government has said it wants 500,000 EV’s on the road by the end of next year. Either people will be force marched to dealerships or car companies will have to try harder to sell them, because the trend is not leaning in their favor when it comes to meeting the goal.
China is already the world’s largest manufacturer of electric bicycles and electric tricycles, but no less than 13 automobile manufacturers in China offered 18 different models of electric automobiles in 2013.
Two years ago, on June 28, 2012 the China State Council passed the New Energy Automobile Industry Development Plan for 2012 to 2020. The goal of the plan? To have 500,000 electric vehicles on the road by the end of 2015 and five-million electric vehicles on the roads by the end of 2020. Yet in 2013, Chinese automobile manufacturers sold just 6,900 highway-speed electric passenger automobiles and 1,247 plug-in hybrid automobiles. (We’ve got detailed lists available below). This number doesn’t include electric buses, which will play a big role in electric vehicle growth in China, but if sales numbers for passenger automobiles continue in this manner, China’s 2015 half-million EV goal will be very difficult to achieve.