One country has dominated the electric car market to date – and it has a very good reason for doing so.
China produced 595,000 electric vehicles in 2017 and sold 579,000 of them in that year, according to figures in a whitepaper from the International Council on Clean Transportation.
China was responsible for 50 per cent of global EV production in 2017, followed by Europe with 21 per cent, the United States with 17 per cent, Japan with eight per cent and South Korea with three per cent.
China’s nearest competitor is the United States, which produced 200,000 and sold 195,000 last year – just a third of those in China.
The gap to the third most electric vehicle-friendly market is another big one: while Germany made 146,000 of them, it sold only 53,000. It is followed by Japan, which made 98,000 and sold 52,000.
And the UK? While only 17,000 electric vehicles were manufactured on these shores, 45,000 were sold – making it one of the largest markets for EVs after the aforementioned nations and green-friendly Norway, which sold 62,000 despite not producing any cars itself.
France sold only 37,000 despite manufacturing 45,000 EVs.
The Chinese government has the figure for the number of EVs sold within its borders in 2017 even higher at 777,000, which is a 53 per cent rise on data from 2016.
The reason for the incredible adoption of EVs in China is the huge subsidies handed out by the Communist Party, which can amount to as much as $17,000 per car and are a result of the chronic air pollution problem in Chinese cities.
The major Chinese EV manufacturers are BYD, Beijing Electric Vehicle Corp, Shanghai Auto, ZhiDou and Zotye.
The 20 leading automakers, each with more than 20,000 electric vehicles produced in 2017, represent 94 per cent of electric vehicle production. Of these top 20, nine have headquarters in China, four in Europe, three in the United States, three in Japan, and one in South Korea, with nine both manufactured and sold in China.