While new car sales in the United States, the world's largest market, has plateaued, and adoption to electric cars has been painstakingly slow, the scene in China is quite the opposite. The market has yet to fully mature for the country of 1.3 billion citizens, and adoption of electric vehicles is at such a rapid pace, it may soon be the dominant vehicle on the road in Asian powerhouse country. In 2016, China registered over 350,000 new electric vehicles, while the world's largest market only registered a meager 159,000 in comparison, with more than half sold in California. While the number of 350,000 new electric vehicles may have been inflated due to subsidy cheating, the lowest number experts put out is still at 250,000. There has been major crackdown in China due to auto manufacturers claiming subsidies for more cars than they produced, sometimes even without producing a single vehicle. However, even at the low end of the estimates, experts are still predicting new electric car sales to at least double last year's.
Experts in the field predict the speed of adoption in China will produce a generation where their first car will be electric and younger generations may never own a gas-powered vehicle. The country has been aggressively pushing the population to buy electric. The goal is to produce 11 percent of all car sales to be electric by 2020, which equates to 3 million units sold annually. The country already accounts for about half of all electric vehicles sold globally. To further their goals, China has planned to invest heavily in the infrastructure to support electric cars. The government plans to install 100,000 public stations in 2017 alone, almost effectively doubling their current total of 150,000. In comparison, the United States only has about 41,000 public charging stations.
And while new car sales in the United States has become stagnant at around 17.5 million units sold annually, the market in China has yet to fully mature and sold 28 million units last year. With so many restrictions and taxes on vehicles, the subsidies and incentives the government offers for buying electric cars will only see the market grow at a faster pace. The LSEV, low-speed electric vehicle has been extremely successful. It is an electric vehicle, which uses a basic battery, usually lead-acid. They cost roughly $5000 and can travel up to 40 mph and they do not require a driver's license or license plate to operate. 23,000 units were sold in 2009. The sales has exploded to 688,000 units in 2015.