China’s NEV market: top five cities with the highest sales of new-energy trucks and vans in 2020

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Chinese carmakers are making a huge bet on the future of new energy vehicles (NEVs), raising a large pile of capital from investors at home and abroad to finance their ambitions.

While NIO, Xpeng and BYD are dominating the headlines with their rivalry in the passenger electric car segment, commercial vehicle manufacturers are separately slugging it out in their own turf in the sale of new-energy trucks and vans, as the government introduced policies to cut its dependence on fossil fuels and has also pledged to become carbon neutral by 2060.

NEVs are described as pure electric, plug-in hybrid and fuel-cell vehicles, according to China’s NEV industry development plan published in November.

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In 2020, Chinese consumers bought 58,045 units of such cargo trucks and vans, according to data from EV Partner, an electric vehicle specialist website. Sales fell for a second year to 58,000 units in 2019 from as high as 147,000 in 2017.

Most cargo vehicles powered by clean energy were sold in the southern province of Guangdong last year, home to some of the nation’s fastest-growing industries and richest billionaires. It recorded 19,899 transactions. That is more than triple the volume of 5,734 in the southwestern province of Sichuan, which was placed second.

Of the 273 Chinese cities, Shenzhen, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Nanjing and Beijing topped the list, accounting for 47.8 per cent of new-energy truck and van sales, EV Partner data showed. Zhengzhou, Changsha, Suzhou, Chongqing and Xiamen completed the top 10 markets.

Here is a list of five Chinese cities with the highest sales of new energy cargo vehicles.

1. Shenzhen

The wealthiest city in Guangdong province recorded sales of 12,858 units, or 22.2 per cent of the national total. Microvans dominated the market as they made up 70 per cent of the volume.

The most popular trucks and vans were made by Chongqing-based Sokon-RCEV, which sold 2,713 vehicles in the city. Dongfeng Motor, China’s second-largest carmaker based in Wuhan, came second with sales of 1,606 units. Shineray SRM, Xiang and Karry were the third, fourth and fifth most popular brands, each selling fewer than 1,000 units.

Unlike other major cities, Shenzhen has yet to announce its gross domestic product for 2020. Shenzhen’s economy grew 2.6 per cent from January to September, compared to the same period in 2019, data from the Shenzhen Bureau of Statistics showed.

2. Chengdu

A total of 5,222 new energy cargo vehicles were sold, with the capital of Sichuan contributing 91 per cent of the sales in the province.

Sokon-RCEV was the most popular brand in Chengdu and also the only carmaker to sell more than 1,000 units. Second-placed Dongfeng sold 688 units.

Box trucks made up nearly half of the sales in the city while microvans were also popular.

Chengdu’s economy grew by 4 per cent year on year in 2020 to 1.77 trillion yuan, the Chengdu Bureau of Statistics said on Thursday.

3. Guangzhou

The capital of the Guangdong province saw sales of 3,894 units last year, with microvans accounting for about 80 per cent.

The sales of trucks were negligible because of a lack of subsidies and road restrictions, according to EV Partner.

Shenzhen, for example, planned to allow pure electric trucks to run on roads that are normally off limits to trucks, according to the city’s “Shenzhen Blue” sustainability plan.

Guangzhou’s GDP in 2020 amounted to 2.50 trillion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 2.7 per cent, the Guangzhou Statistics Bureau said on Friday.

4. Nanjing

A total of 3,265 new energy trucks and vans were sold in the city, the capital of eastern Jiangsu province.

Skywell Automobile Group received the highest orders, with its vehicles chalking up 2,485 in sales. Sokon-RCEV was the second most popular with 328 units, followed by Karry, JAC Motors and Golden Dragon. The top five brands constituted nearly 95 per cent of the unit sales in the city.

Minivans and microvans made up 85 per cent of the sales volume in the city.

The city’s GDP was 1.48 trillion yuan in 2020, indicating an increase of 4.6 per cent in size compared to its economy in 2019, said the city’s statistics bureau on Thursday.

5. Beijing

The capital of China recorded sales of 2,550 units in 2020. Beiqi Foton Motor, a subsidiary of the state-owned BAIC Group, sold 1,124 of them. BAIC, which also produces vehicles called “Beijing” separately had 444 units of sales.

Box trucks were highly in demand as they made up 45.6 per cent of total sales in the city.

In 2020, Beijing’s GDP grew 1.2 per cent from that in 2019 to 3.61 trillion yuan, the Beijing Bureau of Statistics said on January 20.

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