Automotive

Published on February 7th, 2018 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez

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China’s Impressive EV Investment

As the auto industry transforms rapidly toward EVs and autonomous cars, major manufacturers are bracing for challenges including billions of dollars in investment with uncertain payoffs. China, which surpassed the U.S. as the top market for EVs in 2015 with government subsidies and stringent emission regulations, has already become an attractive destination for automakers.

Chinese battery maker Contemporary Amperex Technology, or CATL, is among a list of battery suppliers Aston Martin is considering for its first electric sports car, the RapidE. Some specific regulations from China on batteries have given a competitive advantage to local suppliers. The RapidE sedan is due to go on sale in 2019 and will be limited to 155 units. Aston Martin’s full-year sales rose 58% to 5,117 last year, hitting their highest level in nine years as the firm pursues a turnaround plan which could propel it towards a future stock market flotation.

But, others have tied up with local companies to make in China. Later this year, Volkswagen is expected to roll out the first domestically made electric car through an alliance with Anhui Jianghuai Automobile Group, while Ford has teamed up with Anhui Zotye Automobile to make and sell a line of EVs.

Sales of new-energy vehicles in China may top 700,000 units in 2017 and 1 million in 2018, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.

China requires foreign automakers to form joint ventures with Chinese companies to be able to sell locally. While such partnerships are the quickest way to make EVs in the country, they are also limited by permits. China has dished out only 15 licenses so far for production of new-energy vehicles, posing a barrier to many hopefuls.


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