in battery technology are expected to drive up Chinese electric vehicle (EV)
demand, according to UK investment bank, Barclays.
|Chinese drivers are demanding more from their EVs, with better batteries expected to deliver performance improvements (source: V.T. Polywoda, via Flickr). |
drivers expect EVs to have a driving range of 250km and shorter charging times
than are currently required to fully power-up cars. Fortunately, these demands
match the specifications of second generation batteries, set to roll off
production lines in the next couple of years.
manufacturers continue to squeeze improvements out of the current generation
batteries, the second generation battery technology is likely to kick in around
2017-18, which promises much-improved driving range," Barclays analyst,
Chi Zhang, said.
average driving range of early model EVs in China was 120km, rising to 150km
for cars released in 2014. Some vehicles sold last year claimed to be able to
travel up to 300km on a single charge, but in general, Chinese battery
technology has remained behind that of Japanese and South Korean competitors.
quality, stability, charging time and tech services remain consumer concerns,”
Zhang said. “For example, the Nielsen survey reveals that the current
six-to-eight hours of full charging time far exceeds the 4.7 hours (or 20 minutes
quick charge) preferred by consumers," Zhang added.
the last few years, China has seen a large uptake in EVs, with the government
encouraging rapid growth of electrically-powered transport to reduce oil
product imports, cut air pollution, and to develop a domestic EV manufacturing
are debated, but Chinese EV sales may have already overtaken those in the US,
and China’s government has announced ambitious goals for future sector
expansion to 2020.
government has set a target to lift EV sales from 75,000 in 2014 to around 1.5m
units (5% market share) by 2020, with cumulative sales reaching 5m,"
initiatives to encourage EV usage comprise subsidies and waiving sales and
licence taxes for EVs. Other measures include encouraging local government to
switch to EVs for public buses, taxis, and official cars. Official
guidelines state that EVs must account for at least 30% of the annual
procurement of such vehicles in 2014-16.
Barclays report did not say what type of battery chemistry was likely to
facilitate the anticipated improvement in EV performance, however many industry
observers have speculated that lithium-ion (Li-ion) is likely to be the preferred
technology for electric transport.
is also investing in recharging infrastructure, with the latest policy goal to
add 12,000 charging stations and 4.8m distributed charging piles to serve a
fleet of 5m EVs by 2020.
growth far outpaced China’s total automobile sales of 7% in 2014 and an
estimated 4% in 2015," Barclays’ Zhang said.
the bank has also warned of possible challenges that could hinder the uptake of
electric transportation. Failure to satisfactorily extend driving ranges
and reduce recharging times could deter consumers, while any removal of government
subsidies and slow construction of public charging stations would make it
practically difficult for drivers to adopt EVs in place of hydrocarbon-fuelled
balance, we think battery technology development will help accelerate China’s
EV penetration in the next five years, given the extension of driving ranges
and reduced costs, but we think challenges are likely to result in less robust
EV growth than the government targets,” Zhang said.
infrastructure constraint and gradual EV and service market growth are likely
to cause a slower EV acceptance and adoption by consumers," Zhang added.