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Electrification powers ahead at 2023 Auto Shanghai

Huang Yixuan
Major domestic and international marques showcase new-energy vehicles and green technology at the 20th Shanghai International Automobile Industry Exhibition.
Huang Yixuan

Electrification and digitalization are widely seen as important directions for the development of the automobile industry, and many carmakers are showcasing their latest new-energy vehicle models at the 20th Shanghai International Automobile Industry Exhibition.

This year's Shanghai auto show offers a wealth of NEVs, especially of domestic new-energy brands that are seeing their product technologies come to fruition. This would enable ordinary consumers to better enjoy the convenience and technological advancements of the new energy era, said Cui Dongshu, secretary-general of the China Passenger Car Association.

The Shanghai-based SAIC Group took center stage at the exhibition with the theme of leading green technology. The Group noted that of its more than 130 new vehicles on display from six of its flagship brands and joint ventures, nearly half were NEVs, which highlighted SAIC's commitment to sustainable and environmentally friendly transportation.

At the auto show, SAIC Group unveiled its three-year plan for NEV development, aiming to achieve an annual sales volume of 3.5 million NEVs by 2025, which would be 2.5 times higher than the projected sales volume for 2022. The plan also set a target of a 50 percent annual compound growth rate, with SAIC's self-branded vehicles accounting for 70 percent of the total sales volume of NEVs.

Electrification powers ahead at 2023 Auto Shanghai

SAIC announces its aims to achieve an annual sales volume of 3.5 million SAIC NEVs by 2025, which would be 2.5 times higher than the projected sales volume for 2022.

SAIC is one of those gasoline-powered giants trying hard to jump on the bandwagon of NEVs.

According to the data released by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, in March 2023, China's production and sales of NEVs reached 674,000 and 653,000 units respectively, which, compared with the previous month, increased by 22 percent and 24.4 percent, respectively, and was up 44.8 percent and 34.8 percent from a year earlier.

The market share of NEVs in China has reached 26.6 percent.

These figures indicate that the country's NEV industry is gradually emerging from the relative low point in the first two months of the year and the trend is improving.

While for the first quarter, the production and sales of NEVs totaled 1.65 million and 1.586 million, respectively, which marks an increase of 27.7 percent and 26.2 percent compared to the same period last year. The market share of NEVs was 26.1 percent for the period.

For carmakers born with the genes of electricity like BYD, NEO and Xpeng, their ambition may be more aggressive.

Domestic electric vehicle brand IM Motors, positioned as a "high-end pure electric intelligent automobile brand," present its "intelligent pure electric medium-to-large luxury SUV" IM Motors LS7 as the star exhibit at its booth, which boasts an IMAX-level driving cabin view, a full-scene large five seater with the largest interior area, and a leading driving control chassis.

While Rising Auto at this year's auto show, unveiled its latest crossover SUV concept RC ESSENCE, and with a focus on intelligent comfort, the company also presents its Uni-Shadow integrated outline design concept to show its breakthroughs and innovations in the electric vehicle industry.

To meet the global trend of electrification, international car manufacturers have announced their own development strategies towards electrification, and the transition to electric vehicles is also a proactive choice for foreign carmakers operating in the Chinese market.

Due to the huge size of the Chinese market and its relative leadership in technological development and market demand, the wave of electrification development in China is leading the world's automakers to gradually increase their investment in the Chinese market and fully participate in the competition, Cui said.

The BMW Group came into 2023 Auto Shanghai with a powerful lineup of 20 electric vehicles, showcasing their commitment and active momentum toward electrification and digitalization.

This is the first time the company showcased an all-electric lineup, including five newly launched NEVs and three pure electric concept cars.

Three BMW electric models made their global debut at the auto show, including the innovative all-electric BMW i7 M70L, which was the first time BMW had combined a pure electric M performance car with a flagship BMW model, setting a new milestone for the electrification process of both the BMW flagship brand and the BMW M brand. The other two models are the BMW XM Label Red limited edition plug-in hybrid and the domestically produced all-electric BMW iX1, which comes with a new design and upgraded luxury value.

Nissan displayed its Max-Out concept car at the exhibition, which was making its debut in the Chinese market, along with a range of electric and smart-connected SUV models designed to meet the needs of Chinese consumers, such as the Nissan Arizon. All of these featured electric-driven and intelligent network technologies.

Ashwani Gupta, chief operating officer of Nissan, said that China was one of the most technologically advanced markets in the world and, as market and consumer demands continued to evolve, it had become a leader in global electric and smart-connected services.

Meanwhile, brands such as Volkswagen and Audi are fully involved in the Chinese market and cooperating more with Chinese auto giants such as SAIC Group and FAW Group to set up joint ventures. This promotes the overall integration of international automakers and Chinese technology, and can be beneficial for the development of foreign auto companies as well as China's NEV industry.

SAIC Volkswagen, for example, showcased its entire range of popular car models, including its new Touareg and the upgraded version of the ID. Pure Electric 2023.

Also presented at the exhibition was its latest high-end pure electric concept car ID. Next, which represents the brand's vision for leading the way in green transportation.

Aside from traditional automakers, more cross-industry players had been entering the automotive industry in recent years.

For example, Chinese home appliance maker Skyworth Group in 2017 announced an expansion into passenger vehicles, and the division was renamed Skyworth Auto in 2021.

With the aim to revamp the mobile workplace to be "smarter, more efficient, and healthier," the auto company officially launched the 2023 models of the Skyworth HT-i II, EV6 II, and the 2023 Skywell EU 620 Premium at the 2023 Auto Shanghai, These all showcased Skyworth's technological layout in the fields of technological innovation, manufacturing, and automotive health by optimizing upgraded hardware and software solutions.

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