China’s Electric Vehicle Market: Hylink and Baidu’s Take

2019-02-13

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Written by

Anjelica

Price-Rocha

Santa Monica, CA


As an agency proudly servicing the auto industry and having worked with brands on electric vehicle campaigns, we are thrilled that EVs are slowly, but surely, becoming more accessible to the Chinese population–particularly in Beijing. Previously, people had to enter a lottery to be given the chance to purchase an EV, but it was recently announced that a waitlist system is taking effect.

There are currently 50,000 cars available from that waitlist, though this number is notably meager against Beijing’s population of 21.5 million. Analysts have indicated that for many joining the waitlist now, they likely won’t be able to actually purchase an EV until 2027. In response to this shift, Hylink and Baidu Index examined some of the key market considerations to keep in mind, as well as user demographics of EVs in China. Some of the highlights from the 145-page report are as follows:

  • Aside from the obvious environmental benefit of reducing gas emissions, EVs save Chinese drivers an average of 2000 yuan per month, anticipating a spend of 10 yuan per every hundred miles.
  • Many company parking garages now have EV chargers, making it convenient and economical to charge EVs. Additionally, the cost of maintaining an EV is 10% of what it costs to maintain a gasoline-powered vehicle.
  • Since many Chinese users of EVs are those whom value an elevated lifestyle, the enhanced user experience is also a major attraction. The EVs produce much less noise when driving, and the designs are typically sleek, modern, and comfortable.
  • A potential hurdle to consider in Beijing is the weather; when it is very cold, EVs take longer to charge, and the battery life also decreases. Therefore, EVs can only drive two thirds or even half the distance they typically can under normal weather conditions. Cold weather also limits discharge current, slowing down acceleration.
  • Although most cities are populated with charging stations, finding one during a road trip or in unfamiliar areas may still pose a challenge for Chinese drivers. Studies show that 29% of Teslas–one of the preferred EV brands in China–are located in Beijing; and many smaller provinces are not yet equipped with charging stations.
  • In terms of consumer demographics, Hylink and Baidu Index’ data show that the 30-39 age group has demonstrated most interest in purchasing cars, generally. However, the Gen Z drivers have shown a much higher affinity toward EVs. This information tells us that the near-future market is promising, as the younger generations will soon have more purchasing power.
  • The cities and provinces that have a limited quota for the number of EVs sold per year constitute 52% of all EVs sold in China. These locations–Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Zhejiang, Shenzhen, and Guangdong–are some of the wealthiest regions in China.
  • While some remain hesitant about the new technology, statistics show that 88% of Chinese households that own both an EV and a gasoline-powered vehicle prefer the former.

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