Manufacturing News

New energy vehicles grab big overseas market share

Auto export growth reflects increase in competitiveness of nation's car industry

OSLO-Chinese new energy vehicles are gaining more footing in overseas markets, including Europe, where demand for green transportation has been rapidly growing.

The popularity of Chinese electric vehicles in other markets, which have fitted into the drive to reduce greenhouse emissions, symbolizes their competitiveness arising from efforts to develop green and smart technology.

Earlier this year, NIO, a Chinese EV designer and manufacturer, opened a showroom in Oslo, Norway, the first of its kind in Europe.

Green technology from China helps develop a green way forward in Norway, said Marius Hayler, CEO of NIO Norway.

NIO is among a long list of Chinese brands marketing EVs in Europe, which also includes rising startup XPeng, iconic sedan brand Hongqi, and BYD (Build Your Dreams), a Chinese automaker famous for its electric bus fleet in Europe.

In the first half of 2021, sales of new energy vehicles by MG and Maxus, two brands of Shanghai-based SAIC Motor, a major Chinese auto manufacturer, exceeded 12,000 in European countries, including Britain, Norway, the Netherlands and Denmark.

"From the very beginning, the overseas business has been included in our development plan," said Lan Qingsong, vice-president of SAIC Motor. "After 10 years of operation, our products and services have entered more than 50 countries and regions."

Data from the Ministry of Commerce of China showed new energy vehicles have driven the growth of China's auto exports, which increased 102.5 percent year-on-year from January to July.

"Only when Chinese auto companies enter the markets of developed countries can they truly participate in international competition," said Cui Dongshu, secretary-general of the China Passenger Car Association.

The rapid rise of China's auto exports in 2021, according to Cui, reflects the significant increase in the global competitiveness of China's auto industry, although there is still huge room for export growth.

Chinese EV manufacturers are charging into the global auto market with their latest products and new technology, including battery swapping.

With just one tap on a display, NIO cars can be automatically parked into a battery-swap station and it takes only three minutes to swap a fully charged battery.

NIO said it aims to install 20 battery-swap stations in Norway's five largest cities and on some of the country's major roads.

Zhang Hui, vice-president of NIO Europe, said the company contributes to sustainable development in China and Europe through a unique technological base, adding their smart and digital experience edge and cloud-based upgraded hardware features are NIO's technical advantages.

A number of Chinese technology giants have recently jumped into the EV market, bringing more competition and innovation to the auto industry.

Xiaomi, a Chinese electronics manufacturer, unveiled in September an EV subsidiary, with a starting capital of 10 billion yuan ($1.57 billion). Guangzhou-based GAC Group announced earlier this year a joint project with Chinese tech giant Huawei to develop a "smart SUV".

Artificial intelligence has been a major feature of many Chinese EVs. With tech companies entering the industry, competition surrounding AI is expected to be more intense.

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