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Discussion Starter #1
I see so many naive comments about how great it is in China for EVs that I thought a dose of reality is necessary. I worked 20 years in auto industry in China. For background, China always had system whereby cities (same size as European countries) managed own license plate issuance. They were a revenue earner, like a road tax. You had to buy the plate separately, at the moment they can cost £10,000 (but you can sell back at end of use). China also had a problem with its domestic auto makers not catching up to the multinationals. Despite years of fat profits, the big local auto makers were happy to just leach off their partners and not do what they were supposed to do, i.e. make and sell their own successful cars. So when EVs came along 7-9 years ago, this was the opportunity. Several local players in big cities with big 'domestic' markets in that city (government and taxi fleets are huge buyers) were subsidised to develop EVs (not very good ones) so that the government could give them preferential treatment over the multinationals whose ICE vehicles could never be matched. Then the city creates a local policy such as in Shanghai where if you buy a Shanghai-made EV then no need to wait for, or pay for, a license plate. At the same time as China's Uber was taking off, lots of new taxi drivers used this route to get a car and start driving immediately. However, these people invariably live in apartments and have no charging infrastructure accessible. They NEVER charge the car. They drive as taxi drivers all day doing hundreds of miles a day so even if they could drive, what use is a PHEV with 25 mile range? Whenever I am in China I go in a taxi, always choose BYD or Roewe PHEVs, and I ask the drivers if they have EVER charged, and the answer is always no, I just bought it to avoid the wait and the cost of a plate. So please, don't fall for the hype.
 

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Good explanation and thanks for that insight. One thing I'm missing though, if they never charge, how do they drive their EVs? Are they all hybrids?
 

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I'm not crazy, the attack has begun.
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Do you have figures? My understanding from a few years ago, and presumably it is yet more of this, was 150k BEVs a year versus 70k PHEVs, that is twice as many BEVs to PHEVs

You might have only seen PHEVs yourself personally, and it may well be the case they never charge them (how different is that to here?) but what about the BEVs?

Maybe it is understandable BEVs aren't used as taxis?

The electric scooter market must surely be another indicator, they are making something stupid like 30 million of the things a year.
 

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The Chinese seem to be really serious about BEV busses, though. Reported to be taking advantage of government incentives, of course.

I wish all that was happening here!

Volvo's successful hybrid bus is very clever but inevitably a partial solution. At least it seems to work properly unlike the Boris busses TfL paid so much for.
 

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There are high availability of charge points at new apartment buildings though. Only the old flats doesn’t have charging, but China seems to knock down old builds and rebuilds very often.

This photo was from my visit last year. Looks like a very new apartment complex, there is a charge point at every parking space.

Can you imagine U.K. builders installing chargers in flat car parks? I can’t!
 

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I can IMAGINE it . I have a vivid imagination.

I can even imagine bylaws or building regulations requiring that before too long. Specially since it would not cost the government a penny, if you want to be cynical.
 

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The planning dept should, at the very least, enforce cable ducting and a physical position for a charger to be installed with every newbuild, flat or house. I dont particularly mind if the charger itself is not present, but we really should be breaking down the barriers of entry, and cable ducting across shared land is a really big problem. I've also seen an increase in newbuild houses where the driveway isnt actually in front of the house, and is instead round the back or at the side along with a few other houses. These too should have the ducting etc installed ready to go.

I was fairly bemused recently as i regularly pass two newbuild projects. The one closest to my house is a small council development, building some social housing on what was some waste land. The other is a larger, more typical private development, with i think Cala homes. The council development has fitted solar PV (albeit a fairly small 1kwp install) to every house. The private development, full of houses priced from 380-500k, hasnt fitted anything at all.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
The numbers - the main Chinese EVs and their volumes for 7 months up to end-July 2018 - Beijing Auto EC series (40k units), BYD Qin PHEV (27k), BYD Song PHEV (23k), JAC iEV (21k), BYD e5 (20k), Roewe E16 PHEV (17k), JMC e200 (17k), Roewe eRX5 PHEV (16k), Beijing Auto EX series (15k), Chery eQ (15k). There are others sub-15k sales.

Focus on the non-PHEVs -
Beijing Auto EC- these are BEVs, citicar size, incredibly cheap (£6k!) after a £11k subsidy, no need to buy license plate or enter auction (Beijing has a 3 year wait to buy a new ICE car).

Beijing Auto EX - BEV SUV - similar benefits but in SUV size

JAC iEV - BEV SUV, after subsidy around £12,000
BYD e5 - BEV sedan
JMC e200 - BEV citicar
Chery eQ - BEV citicar - costs £7k post-subsidy

So what you have is basically two markets, the taxi market which is PHEV (they need bigger vehicles comfortable enough to drive all day, every day) but they never charge, and then the BEV citicar market which is the true part of the market which has only developed this year. The other huge distortion is the impact of local governments, e.g. Beijing Auto is owned by Beijing government and hence gets huge support from them, Roewe is owned by Shanghai government, BYD is very close to Shenzhen government, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
There are high availability of charge points at new apartment buildings though. Only the old flats doesn’t have charging, but China seems to knock down old builds and rebuilds very often.

This photo was from my visit last year. Looks like a very new apartment complex, there is a charge point at every parking space.

Can you imagine U.K. builders installing chargers in flat car parks? I can’t!
Well, there are differences in China. Most flats are built within a walled compound with security at the gates., So from that perspective it is easier to instal less expensive (less thief-proofed) chargers. However, the vast majority >99% of apartments have no charging. Anything built over 10 years ago has already run out of car parking spaces, let alone chargers. On the other hand, in the big cities there are lots of new office buildings with huge underground car parks (often 3, 4 or 5 stories deep) which destination chargers can be installed in, unlike London say which bans the construction of car parks under new office buildings. So in China (some) people are free to drive into work and park under their office even in Beijing and Shanghai and charge all day, only problem is you'll need a face mask and hours of time sitting in queues to do so....
 
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