Sales of electric and hybrid cars in China more than doubled in April compared to the same time last year, as the promise of tax rebates and new models lured buyers towards cleaner vehicles.
According to the government-backed China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM), electric vehicle (EV) sales in China hit 225,310 during the first four months of this year, up 149 per cent compared to the same period a year earlier and accounting for around half of all EV sales worldwide.
In April 2018 alone, sales of electric and hybrid cars hit 82,000, CAAM said late last week, according to various media reports.
It puts the country on track to hit total sales of one million EVs this year, halfway towards the government’s target of two million by 2020.
The high sales figures from EVs come against a backdrop of a booming Chinese car market, with total auto sales up 11.5 per cent in April 2018 compared to a year earlier.
The Chinese government is seeking to promote EV ownership, seeing it as a way to drive growth in the auto sector and tackle China’s notoriously poor air quality.
Many automakers have already spotted the Chinese opportunity, with Ford, Renault-Nissan and VW all having formed joint ventures in China in recent months to secure a foothold in the market.
In related news, Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Müller-Ӧtvӧs told the Financial Times this weekend the luxury car company will be making only electric cars by 2040, in preparation for car markets around the world going electric. The UK is one of a number of countries planning to impose a ban on the sale of petrol and diesel cars from 2040, while some nations are considering even earlier phase out dates for the internal combustion engine.
“When you see what happens in Saudi, when you see what happens in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, they are all looking into alternative energy,” Müller-Ӧtvӧs told the paper. “Electrification will also happen in these countries, sooner or later.”