By July 19, 2017 Read More →

China’s plan to dominate global EV market includes pressuring automakers with “impossible” rules

China looking for EVs, hybrids to be 20% of sales by 2025

Global automakers have urged China to delay and soften planned quotas for sales of electric and hybrid cars, saying its proposals will be impossible to meet and would severely disrupt their businesses, according to a letter seen by Reuters.

The June 18 letter addressed to the head of China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, is the most cohesive pushback yet from the industry against ambitious targets for so-called new energy vehicles in the world’s biggest auto market.

Keen to combat air pollution, China is planning to set goals for electric and plug-in hybrid cars to make up at least a fifth of Chinese auto sales by 2025, with a staggered system of quotas beginning in 2018.

China remained the largest market in 2016, according to the International Energy Agency, accounting for more than 40 per cent of global electric car sales, more than 200 million electric two-wheelers, and  more than 300,000 electric buses.

China, the US and Europe made up the three main markets, totalling over 90 per cent of all EVs sold around the world.

Beijing also sees the policy as a means to help the domestic car industry to compete with foreign rivals that have decades more experience in internal combustion engines.

The strict new rules plus planned harsh penalties for non-compliance, such as the cancellation of licenses to sell non- electric cars in China, has the potential to cause much pain for some automakers in the market.

“This will hit the industry pretty hard, especially well-known companies,” said Liping Kang, senior manager at the Innovation Center for Energy and Transportation, a Beijing-based think tank.

Although Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and German Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed last month that concessions would be made, the ministry later released draft regulations upholding the strict sales quotas.

“The proposed rules’ ambitious enforcement date is not possible to meet,” the letter from U.S., European, Japanese and Korean auto industry bodies said.

“At a minimum, the mandate needs to be delayed a year and include additional flexibilities.”

The ministry declined to comment.

The all electric Chevy Bolt.

The targets demand firms sell electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles to generate “credits” equivalent to 8 percent of total sales by 2018, 10 percent by 2019 and 12 percent by 2020.

Member governments of the Electric Vehicle Initiative┬álaunched the EV30@30 campaign last month in Beijing. The campaign sets a “collective aspirational goal” for all EVI members of a 30 per cent market share for electric vehicles in the total of all passenger cars, light commercial vehicles, buses and trucks by 2030, according to the IEA.

The campaign will also raise support for accelerated deployment of charging infrastructure, commitments on fleet procurement, and exchange and replication of best practices for the promotion of EVs in cities.

Equal Treatment

The auto industry bodies also asked for China to reconsider some of the penalties for not achieving the quotas, such as plans to ban carmakers from importing and producing non-new energy vehicles altogether.

They also called for equal treatment of Chinese and foreign makers. Currently foreign carmakers are excluded from getting full subsidies for new energy vehicles and batteries, leaving manufacturers such as Tesla (TSLA.O) at a disadvantage.

The first Tesla Model 3 was gifted to CEO Elon Musk by a board member. Photo: Tesla Motors.

“This preference for domestic automakers over import automakers undermines the environmental goals of the regulation, puts imports at a competitive disadvantage, and risks opening China up to international trade disputes,” the letter said.

Chinese manufacturers are the biggest producers of electric vehicles worldwide, making 43 percent of the total last year, according to consultancy McKinsey & Co.

The letter was signed by the American Automotive Policy Council, the European Automobile Manufacturers Association, the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association and the Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association.

European carmakers such as Daimler (DAIGn.DE) have responded to the Chinese proposals by announcing plans to ramp up local production of electric cars, while Tesla has said it is in talks with the Shanghai Municipal government to try to avoid a 25 percent tariff on imported vehicles.

Foreign manufacturers also want more credit given to plug-in hybrid cars, and for carmakers to be allowed to “bank” credits accrued from already sold cars as well as to “carry forward” credits into subsequent model years.

The letter was first reported by Germany’s WirtschaftsWoche magazine.

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1 Comment on "China’s plan to dominate global EV market includes pressuring automakers with “impossible” rules"

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  1. Ron M says:

    The requirements China is requiring aren’t impossible. It’s just the same stuff car makers said about raising CAFE standards. Once they were raised automakers met the Standards. I hope China holds car makers feet to the fire.