China has not just showcased a great political and regulatory will to embrace electric vehicle adoption, but Chinese brands have also delivered on their promises. We’re nowhere near praising US automakers for the same, at least not yet (apart from Tesla, of course). China has raced to become the world’s largest EV market, and some of its success is now spilling overseas.
JATO Dynamics, an automotive market research firm, outlined in its latest report how Chinese EVs have been dominating the EV sales charts in many South Asian and South American countries.
In the first six months of 2023, Chinese EVs grabbed the biggest chunk of the EV sales pie in South Asian countries like Indonesia (29 percent), Philippines (33 percent), Malaysia (28 percent), and Thailand (79 percent). In South America, Brazil and Chile made the list, each with 27 percent of their new EV sales coming from Chinese brands.
A whopping 91 percent of new EV sales in Russia between January and June 2023 came from Chinese EVs. As most Western/legacy carmakers halted their Russian operations due to the Ukraine war, Chinese automakers swooped in and popularized their EVs in the country. In Israel, a solid 61 percent of new EVs were Chinese, and Mexico is also in on the appeal with 30 percent of its EV sales in H1 2023 coming from Chinese brands.
There’s one clear reason for this, but it’s not the only factor at play here – Chinese EVs are far more affordable, and many Chinese brands have upped their game in terms of quality and technology on offer.
The average retail price of an EV in China was 37 percent and 26 percent higher than in Europe and the US in 2015. It took China just eight years to reverse that trend. The average EV price in China is now less than half the average EV price in Europe and the US. In H1 2023, an average EV cost $33,404 (€31,405) in China, $71,669 (€66,864) in Europe, and $72,912 (€68,023) in the US, as per the currency conversion rates on November 6, 2023.
Moreover, a Chinese EV with 200-300 horsepower costs roughly $33,150 (€30,500). The BYD Seal’s Elite trim with 204 hp has a retail price of $26,197 (€24,106) in China. The closest European rival is the electric version of the Renault Twingo priced at $26,430 (€24,320), and it only produces 81 hp, according to the report.
Tesla is an exception to this trend. The effective prices of the Model 3 and Model Y, following several rounds of price cuts and after factoring in the federal and state-level incentives, can drop under $30,000, as many owners have revealed.
That said, brands like Xpeng, BYD, and MG (whose parent company is SAIC Motors), have started becoming common sights on the streets of select European countries, and even in North America. They are among several others to have amped up the quality and technological appeal of their EVs. Even MotorTrend critics were impressed by the BYD Yuan Plus and the JAC E10X during their investigation of Chinese brands in Mexico.
With Detroit automakers pushing back their plans for mass-market EVs by a few years, should US consumers also be able to reap the cost benefits of Chinese EVs? Leave your thoughts in the comments.