Chinese production of 149,998 new energy vehicles (NEVs)
units, including pure electric vehicles (PEVs) and plug-in
hybrids, in the first quarter of this year was up by 156.9%
from a year earlier, according to data released by the China
Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM).
Sales of NEVs rose to 142,577 units in January-March, up by
154.3% from the same period in 2017, it added.
Output of PEVs rose by 124.7% to 107,826 units and
production of plug-in hybrids increased by 305.3% to 42,138
units in the first quarter of 2018. Over the same period, sales
of PEVs increased by 131% to 102,442 units while sales of
plug-in hybrids totaled 40,133 units, up by 242.6%.
As well, China’s output of NEVs rose by 105% to
67,932 units in March year on year, reflecting the
continued promotion by the Chinese government of the
development of the technology.
Production of PEVs of 51,140 units in March was up by 91%
year on year while that of plug-in hybrids rose by 163% to
Sales of NEVs reached 67,778 units in March, up by 117.4%
year on year. PEV sales rose by 105.9% to 52,174 units while
sales of plug-in hybrids were up by 167.2% at 5,602 units from
a year earlier.
The Chinese battery industry’s strong
performance has largely been supported by generous
subsidies set by the 13th Five-Year Plan, established
in 2015 by the Party Central Committee and the State Council,
to develop, innovate and restructure the Chinese automobile
The main aim of this plan is to increase NEV production in
the coming years to reduce pollution in the country via the
establishment of a domestic battery industry that aims to
produce 2 million NEVs by 2020.
The growing number of NEVs produced and sold in China
continues to support the price of lithium-ion battery raw
minerals such as lithium, graphite and cobalt.
The price of battery-grade lithium carbonate (min 99.5% Li2CO3)
was 145,000-150,000 yuan per tonne on Thursday April 12,
unchanged from a week earlier, according to the latest
Industrial Minerals market assessment.
Spot prices for lithium carbonate in China remain at
historic highs, however (see chart below).
battery grade Chinese spot market prices vs
large biannual EU and US carbonate
The price for uncoated spherical graphite in China, another
battery raw material, has increased twice over the course of a
month after a prolonged period of flatness.
Industrial Minerals assessed the spherical graphite 99.95%
C, 15 microns price at $2,700-2,800 per tonne fob China on
April 12, up from $2,500-2,700 per tonne fob China a week
Demand for the material - a crucial feedstock for the anode
component of lithium-ion batteries used in EVs - is increasing,
suppliers reported, leading to what they describe as a
situation of tightening availability, which is keeping prices
On the export market, data from Chinese authorities on
spherical graphite trading seem to support this picture.
In 2017, Chinese exports of spherical graphite reached a
seven-year high of 40,871 tonnes, also up 25% from the previous