Sales of electric cars in China are on pace to hit 700,000 this year, with 80% more sold in the country last month than in September 2016.
The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) reported that 77,000 EVs were sold in September, bringing the total for the first three-quarters of 2017 up to 398,000.
With the final three months of the year usually the best for car sales in China, the assistant secretary general of CAAM, Xu Haidong, told the China Daily newspaper that he expects 700,000 EVs to be sold this year, up from 500,000 last year.
The take-up of EVs and other alternate-fuelled ‘New Energy Vehicles’ in China is being driven in part by new rules being introduced next year that will heavily penalise manufacturers that don’t produce a certain number of such vehicles.
The importance of the Chinese market to manufacturers was recently highlighted by Tesla announcing that it will modify new cars it sells in the country to work with China’s GB standard charging network, with old cars to be retrofitted in time.
Teslas have previously only been compatible with the firm’s own Superchargers. Tesla is aiming to have more than 1000 such posts operating in China by the end of this year, but the new plug will now allow Tesla models to also use almost any EV charging point in China.
While sales numbers have dropped off in several countries, the Chinese car market as a whole continues to grow. According to the CAAM figures, 2.7 million cars were delivered in China in September, a 5.7% year-on-year increase, although that level of growth has slowed substantially year-on-year, partly due to a reduced tax rate deal ending at the end of 2016.
So far this year, 17.15 million cars have been sold in China, a 2.4% year-on-year rise. This growth has largely been fuelled by SUVs; sales of crossovers are up 16.1% year-on-year, while sales for every other class of car fell.