For all the hype we hear about Tesla and the electric vehicle initiatives of western automakers, China alone accounts for one-third of global EV sales, and almost all of the vehicles are Chinese-made.
Government policy—rather than market economics—created the electric car craze there. For nearly a decade, China’s government has poured money into the EV industry, offering generous tax incentives and subsidies for car makers and consumers, building charging infrastructures across the country, and placing restrictions on the sales and use of gasoline cars.
As a result, electric vehicles have become a large part of Chinese people’s daily lives in a way that hasn’t happened in countries like the US. And there’s no better place to see that than in Shenzhen, one of China’s tech hubs in the southern part of the country.
Shenzhen is the world’s only city to have 100% electric buses. It’s also one of the first Chinese cities to set a goal to replace all gasoline-run taxis with new electric vehicles, which includes pure battery vehicles and plug-in hybrids. And that’s not a coincidence. Shenzhen is home to BYD, the world’s second largest EV maker after Tesla.
While Norway takes the top spot in terms of percentage of EV sales (where 52% of all new car sales in 2018 were either hybrids or pure electric), no one comes close to China in terms of unit volume.