Sales boost for Chinese electric car startups
Chinese electric car startups posted a good performance in January amid rising momentum in the new-energy vehicle sector and improving consumer confidence.
Startups such as NIO, Xpeng and Li Auto reported sales up by more than 300 percent year on year.
In January, NIO delivered 7,225 units, a year-on-year increase of 352 percent, a new high in a single month for six consecutive months. Xpeng Motors sold 6,015 units in January, an increase of 470 percent year on year, its best delivery record in history for the third consecutive month. Li Auto delivered 5,379 vehicles in January, a year-on-year increase of 355 percent.
Wang Binggang, who leads the National 863 Energy-saving and New Energy Vehicle Project, said consumers' recognition of new-energy vehicles had greatly improved compared with January last year.
The industry association has not released the country's overall new-energy vehicle sales figure for January, but Cui Dongshu, secretary-general of the China Passenger Car Association said sales of new-energy vehicles will be better than expected at the start of 2021 and continue to develop throughout the year.
Cui added that purchasing was relatively strong before Spring Festival and a certain amount of demand had accumulated during the end of 2020.
Market competition is intensifying as China’s electric car startups accelerate development.
Li Auto announced it is setting up a research and development center in Shanghai. The center aims to develop cutting-edge technologies for smart electric vehicles, such as a high-voltage platform, fast charging, autonomous driving as well as a next generation smart cockpit and development capability for its new car model.
The company said it had already started recruiting for the center and expects to have more than 2,000 staff in the future.
David Zhang, an independent automotive consultant, said the product capability, production scale and marketing of electric car startups had greatly improved compared with the same period last year. Zhang said there are many car models for consumers to choose, such as Tesla's Model Y, Xpeng P7, BYD Han and others, which is also a reason for increasing sales.
Some of electric car startups are raising funds and going public to grab market share.
In January, China Evergrande New Energy Vehicle Ltd said it would bring in six new investors to raise HK$26 billion (US$3.35 billion) to fund technology research and repay debt. Leapmotor announced that it raised a total of 4.3 billion yuan in its series B financing. WM Motor met the application requirements for listing guidance of the STAR Market on the Shanghai Stock Exchange in January.