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China, Apr 10, 2018,  by Allianz Partners Business Insights

China to standardise its electric cars

China has announced its intention to improve its electric vehicle regulations, both for environmental reasons and to strengthen its position in the global car market.


On 20 March, China revealed plans to improve standards in its electric vehicle industry. The aim is to tackle air pollution, which is reaching critical levels in the country, and also to reduce its dependence on oil imports and boost its bid to become a leading car manufacturer.

The Chinese Ministry of Industry stated that efforts for the year ahead will centre on "recharging, battery design and fuel consumption" and that China will strive to "promote its own standards and benchmarks for electric and plug-in electric vehicles overseas", as reported by Reuters.


National standardisation plan


China’s electric vehicle industry is booming, with more than 100 technological benchmarks relating to electric vehicles having already been drawn up. One of the major challenges facing the sector, however, is a lack of standardisation. By way of example, some local governments set different requirements as way of restricting access to their markets for firms from other regions.

The delegates of China’s parliament, the National People’s Congress (NPC), have also asked the state to review the regional system by which subsidies are given to electric vehicle manufacturers, a system that they believe distorts competition between Chinese producers and favours regional leaders. Such internal conflict prevents the country’s leading manufacturers from being more competitive in the international market.


Simplified automated recycling


NPC delegates also bemoaned the fact that the lack of standardisation has hampered the creation of new automated recycling facilities, while safety and profitability at existing plants are other issues of concern. The situation is made all the more problematic by the fact that China will have to process more than 170,000 tons of used batteries from electric vehicles in 2018 alone, all of which could undermine the technology’s "green" status, as Elisabeth Studer pointed out at


Ambitious targets


According to the strict quotas imposed by the Chinese government, electric and hybrid cars must account for a fifth of national car sales by 2025, which represents a challenge for manufacturers in a country that represents the largest car market in the world.

China built 794,000 electric and hybrid cars in 2017, some 777,000 of which have been sold, an increase of 53 percent on the year and the most sold in any one country. The goal is to sell two million units a year by 2020.  


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