(Yicai Global) April 20 -- Chinese automakers, joint ventures and internet firms in the car-making business are all unveiling green energy vehicles at this year's Shanghai Auto Show, which opens to the public tomorrow.
BYD Auto Co. [SHE:002594], China's biggest maker of electric vehicles, showcased its new models, the Song DM and Song EV300, at the 17th Shanghai International Automobile Industry Exhibition less than two months after it released two NEV models, the Tang 100 and Qin 100, in late February.
Private cars will be the next area of exponential growth in the electric car industry, according to BYD Chairman Wang Chuanfu. In the short term, plug-in hybrids will be the mainstream. BYD plans to promote dual-mode cars in more than 200 cities across China over the next three to five years.
Dongfeng Motor Group Co. has brought 10 new NEV models to the Shanghai Auto Show. Dongfeng Motor sold 25,000 pure electric vehicles last year, a jump of almost 67 percent from a year ago, General Manager Li Shaozhu told Yicai Global, adding that the company's NEV division has become profitable as a whole.
"As NEV demand growth slows and carmakers become increasingly motivated to roll out NEVs, competition in China's NEV market will intensify," said Duan Zhihui, who has served as NEV manager at Chongqing Changan Automobile Co. and Chery Automobile Co. Duan previously worked at Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Corp. in the US.
The earlier boom in the green auto market was largely driven by government subsidies, Duan added. The market is returning to normal this year. With the withdrawal of state support, NEVs with particularly expensive batteries are expected to see sales decline further.
NEV sales are set to reach 750,000 units this year, Cui Dongshu, secretary-general at China Passenger Car Association, told Yicai Global earlier.
China's NEV market picked up in February and March after hitting a low in January, with sales reaching 49,477 in the first quarter, which helped the country to retain the title of the world's largest NEV market.