More electric cars will be sold in China this year than in the rest of the world combined, as its domestic market accelerates ahead of the global competition. From a report: This year, a quarter of all new cars purchased in China will be an all-electric vehicle or a plug-in hybrid. By some estimates, more than 300 Chinese companies are making E.V.s, ranging from discount offerings below $5,000 to high-end models that rival Tesla and German automakers. There are roughly four million charging units in the country, double the number from a year ago, with more coming. While other E.V. markets are still heavily dependent on subsidies and financial incentives, China has entered a new phase: Consumers are weighing the features and prices of electric vehicles against gas-powered cars without much consideration of state support. The United States is far behind. This year, the country passed a key threshold of E.V.s accounting for 5 percent of new car sales. China passed that level in 2018.
Even new U.S. incentives have raised questions about how effective they will be in addressing mitigating factors for electric cars, such as long wait lists, limited supplies and high prices. The U.S. Inflation Reduction Act, passed last month, included a $7,500 tax credit for electric vehicles with conditions on where the cars are manufactured and where batteries are sourced. Automakers complained that the credit did not apply to many current E.V. models, and that the sourcing requirements could increase the cost of building an E.V. It took China more than a decade of subsidies, long-term investments and infrastructure spending to lay the foundation for its electric vehicle market to start standing on its own. Tu Le, a managing director of the Beijing-based consultancy Sino Auto Insights, said competition and dynamism were now driving the Chinese market, not government subsidies. “We have reached a point in China where we’re competing on price. We’re competing on features. So it’s not a subsidy thing,” Mr. Le said. “The market is taking over.”