How China is driving the future of electric cars | PBS NewsHour

How China is driving the future of electric cars | PBS NewsHour

Katrina Yu:

But he has no choice. The central planners of China’s government say they’re committed to ensuring the electric vehicle market becomes a world leader.

This year China, imposed an emissions credit system that requires car manufacturers to reduce emissions below a certain level, or pay for credits from other companies. That’s an expenditure they want to avoid, so they are being compelled to go more green. And that applies to domestic and international carmakers.

At a plant in Foshan in China’s south, German automaker Audi is building its first fully electric car designed especially for the Chinese market. Audi plans to launch 30 hybrid and electric models around the world by 2025.

China is Audi’s biggest market. And China’s drive for new energy vehicles, or NEVs, is impossible to ignore, says director executive Heinz-Willi Vassen.

Audi isn’t the only global brand lining up to comply with China’s e-strategy. Ford and General Motors will also launch electric models made specifically for the Chinese market by the end of this year, while Tesla’s first factory outside the U.S. is nearing completion in Shanghai.

But for Chinese brands, there have been some speed bumps. NIO is struggling with months of sluggish sales and reports of battery fires. The company has had to fire 10 percent of its work force.

And across the country, a weakening economy has reduced auto sales, including a 7 percent slump in electric vehicle sales. It hasn’t helped that consumer subsidies began being scaled back in June, driving up the cost to buy one.

NIO CEO William Li downplays concerns. He says his company and the electric industry overall are just starting to get on the road.

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