As our battered shuttle bus bumped smokily through the traffic from Shanghai Pu Dong Airport to our hotel in the centre of the city yesterday, we drew up alongside a line of eye-catchingly vivid blue cars.

The cars in question were Volkswagen e-Ups, travelling line astern and standing out against the rash of black, silver and grey saloons in the city.

They were not strictly passenger cars; each was driven by an immaculately dressed, white-gloved chauffeur, presumably ferrying very important people who are in town for the Shanghai motor show.

It would have been a moment of stage-managed perfection on the part of Volkswagen, my host for tomorrow’s show, were it not entirely coincidental that our bus happened to be in the area.

This is my first visit here, and I’d been braced for a sensory assault from the traffic. In fact, during a stroll around the Bund district, I was surprised by the amount of quiet electric and hybrid vehicles on the road.

China is aggressively pushing EVs. Although they are by no means the answer to all of the challenges the nation faces – the methods by which the electricity is produced in the first place is another matter altogether – year-on-year sales of EVs are on the rise.