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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 10 December 2018

Electric car uptake quadruples in China in three years

And set to grow; beginning in 2019, car makers will have to sell a set percentage of "New Energy Vehicles" as part of a quota system

An exhibit at a new energy vehicle (NEV) trade fair in Zhengzhou, China. EV uptake is soaring. Reuters
An exhibit at a new energy vehicle (NEV) trade fair in Zhengzhou, China. EV uptake is soaring. Reuters

Adoption of electric vehicles in China is outpacing other countries, driven by very strong domestic policy support.

EVs reached almost 4 per cent of passenger vehicle sales in China in the second quarter, up from under 1 per cent just three years ago. EVs represented around 2.2 per cent of sales in Europe and 1.6 per cent in North America.

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Leading the race

This rapid growth looks set to continue. Fourth-quarter EV sales are usually strong and beginning in 2019, car makers will have to sell a set percentage of "New Energy Vehicles" as part of a quota system, similar to the mandate already in place in California, Bloomberg said.

Car makers that fail to reach the targets will be forced to buy credits from competitors. China was 47 per cent of the global EV market in 2017, and this is expected to rise to 55 per cent for 2018.

The news comes as Japan's Nissan Motor plans to invest about $900 million to boost vehicle-making capacity in China by 40 per cent by 2021 - part of an approximately $8.73bn strategy to become a top three player in the world’s largest car market.

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Nissan and its Chinese joint-venture partner Dongfeng Group intend to invest around $900 million for the envisioned manufacturing capacity expansion over the next few years, according to a person close to the plan. That would boost Nissan's vehicle production capacity in China to as many as 2.1 million vehicles a year.

The investment is part of a previously disclosed multi-year plan to expand Nissan's sales in China.

Nissan, part of the Renault-Nissan alliance, plans to use the added capacity to produce both electric vehicles and gasoline-fuelled cars for the Nissan brand and its China-only Venucia brand.

Rival Toyota plans to boost its China capacity over the next few years by 240,000 vehicles a year, or by about 20 per cent, from its current capacity of 1.16 million vehicles a year.