Chinese EV makers aim for more affordable cars

Chinese EV makers aim for more affordable cars

BEIJING, China: Chinese electric vehicle EV makers aim to win over European drivers and large corporate customers with more affordable cars that are in line with the highest safety standards and have many high-tech features.

Several Chinese EVs have received five-star European New Car Assessment Programme NCAP ratings, which require equipping vehicles with active and passive safety features that are above legal requirements.

Brian Gu, president of Chinese EV maker Xpeng, said all Chinese EV makers want to achieve Euro NCAP five-star ratings in order to be more competitive in the European market.

Matthew Avery, director at Thatcham Research, said Chinese EV makers have recognized that safety is important for sales.

According to Avery, Fleet sales are very important and a lot of fleets have a mandatory five-star rating for buying cars.

Many fleets want to switch to EVs as soon as possible to meet sustainability goals, but as supply chain issues have pushed waiting times for some models to more than 12 months, they have struggled to deliver enough EVs to Europe.

European carmakers have been able to increase EV prices because of the supply chain shortages and high demand, rather than to focus on retail clients, rather than customers that have traditionally been less profitable, such as car rental firms.

This has created opportunities for Chinese EV makers, which have progressed faster than most foreign rivals in China, by far the world's largest EV market.

In the first nine months of 2022, 155,000 Chinese-made cars were sold, or 1.4 percent of the market, with Chinese firms poised to hit 150,000 cars this year, some double the 80,000 sold in 2021, according to French auto consultancy Inovev.

By 2030 EVs will account for 40% of Europe's new car sales, and Chinese brands will represent between 12.5 percent and 20 percent of the fully-electric market, with sales of between 725,000 and 1.16 million, according to Inovev.