The Shanghai auto show in April was packed with Chinese electric vehicles (EVs) of all sorts, including concept cars, sports cars, and luxury cars. The event was a pivotal moment for China’s car industry: Foreign domination of China’s auto market was eclipsed by Chinese companies offering EVs whose performance, designs, and technologies match or exceed everything on offer from car companies in Germany, the U.S., and Japan.
China is already the giant of the global EV market: In 2022, 6.7 million units or 64% of global new energy vehicle (NEV) production (including EVs, hybrids, and cars running on hydrogen and other non-gasoline energy sources) occurred in China, which also accounted for 59% of the 10.52 million global NEV sales. Of the 7.65 million global EV sales last year, China accounted for over 5 million, meaning that almost two out of three EVs were sold in China.
The 15 Chinese companies listed in this guide were all among the top 25 global highest-selling EV brands in 2022. It was a breakout year for BYD, which was the top global company by sales. BYD sold 1.85 million EVs and hybrids in 2022, an increase of 211% year-on-year, which put it far ahead of Tesla with 1.31 million units.
But BYD and Geely are the only purely Chinese companies in the top 10 of global sales for 2022. And BYD still sells as much as 97% of its vehicles in China. Although Chinese companies dominate the domestic industry, their next crucial step is to go global. BYD and other Chinese brands are now aggressively expanding abroad.
All EV chains lead to China
In the global race to build EVs and the batteries that power them, China is winning hands-down. This includes the mining and processing of the raw materials and precious metals that go into batteries.
Although sodium-ion batteries are now increasingly entering the market, up to 99% of all batteries installed in NEVs are still made from lithium, and also contain base metals such as aluminum, copper, and iron, as well as more expensive metals like cobalt, nickel, and manganese.
China controls crucial links in the supply chains of all these metals. In addition to ramping up domestic lithium production, Chinese companies have undertaken a range of direct investments, equity deals, and supply or sales agreements with mining companies in Africa, South America, Indonesia, Australia, and Canada. In May 2022, for example, BYD reportedly identified six lithium mines for acquisition in Africa that would yield 1 million tonnes of lithium carbonate — enough to guarantee the company’s production for a full decade.
Downstream of mining, China dominates production at every stage of the battery supply chain, from the fabrication of the positive and negative electrodes to the manufacturing of the cells and their assembly into modules and then battery packs. About 75% of the global production of battery cells, 70% of specialized cathodes, and 85% of anode materials occur in China. China also produces 66% of separators and 62% of electrolytes.
Companies lost along the way
Our previous China EV guide was published in April 2021, and it includes several companies that have become notable casualties of China’s cutthroat EV industry. Most of the dropouts, like Enovate 天际, Byton 拜腾, and WM Motor, have subsided under the relentless cost pressures of the industry. For the same reason, Evergrande New Energy Auto, an EV company that was launched in 2019 by the heavily indebted property developer China Evergrande Group, was reportedly sold off for 360 million yuan ($51.73 million) in December 2022.
In 2023 and the coming few years, we will likely see various other brands fall by the wayside, but the 15 mentioned here will probably stick around. There will also be new ones: Smartphone and consumer electronics giant Xiaomi announced in March 2021 that it would start making EVs, but it has not yet joined the market.
The 15 leading EV companies in China
These are the 15 Chinese companies (including Tesla, which is not a Chinese company but manufactures most of its EVs in China) and joint ventures (JVs) with the highest EV sales in China in 2022 and the first quarter of 2023, based on data collected by the China Passenger Car Association (CPCA).
In addition to CPCA data, the Ministry of Public Security compiles numbers of insured vehicles, which shows how many EVs are sold to individual customers (as opposed to car and rental companies). The insurance numbers broadly track CPCA sales data but are somewhat lower.
SAIC-GM-Wuling 上汽通用五菱 (joint venture)
GAC Aion 广汽埃安
Hozon Auto 合众汽车
Li Auto 理想汽车
Great Wall Motors 长城汽车
FAW VW 一汽大众 (joint venture)
SAIC VW 上汽大众 (joint venture)
Read More at https://thechinaproject.com/2023/05/18/chinas-top-15-electric-vehicle-companies/