Electric vehicles (EVs) were a hot topic in 2023, and that trend is expected to continue into 2024 and beyond. A new report from the China Passenger Car Association (CPCA) highlights the growing popularity of these cars in the world’s largest automotive market. For the first time, the penetration rate of new energy vehicles (NEVs), a term used by the Chinese government to include battery-powered electric cars, plugin hybrids, and fuel-cell vehicles, surpassed 40%.
In other words, NEVs made up 40.4% of all new passenger vehicle purchases in China during the month of November. This trend is fueled by consumer interest in electric cars and generous incentives from the Chinese government for those who purchase them.
According to data from the CPCA, total passenger sales in China during November totaled 25.5 million units. This alone marks a historic high. The agency noted that NEVs are a significant driving force behind new passenger vehicle purchases in the Chinese market. In November, NEV sales reached 841,000 units, an 8.9% month-over-month increase from September.
Throughout the first 11 months of 2023, retail sales of NEVs in China reached 6.809 million, marking a year-over-year increase of 35.2%. Chinese carmaker BYD led the field with 301,400 monthly sales. Meanwhile, Telsa China held a distant second place with 82,400 units sold in the month.
Notably, the outlook for 2024 is even more optimistic. CPCA projects that the NEV market in China will continue to grow at a rate of 22% year-over-year, reaching sales of 11 million units and maintaining an impressive penetration rate of 40%. The latter will likely increase over time as the impression of NEVs among consumers becomes more favorable.
Chinese NEV brands are adopting a multifaceted approach to further win over consumers. Marketing and sales strategies continue to play an important role in painting a positive picture of combustion engine alternatives. New technology developments are also crucial for luring consumers away from traditional automobiles.
Much excitement in the latter department is being fueled by silicon carbide (SiC) chips. These chips vastly outperform silicon in several automotive applications. Thanks to their high thermal conductivity, they can operate more efficiently at high temperatures and voltages. Considering the strain of repetitive high-voltage charging, SiC chips are pivotal for vehicles needing to charge quickly and maintain longevity.
Numerous vehicle manufacturers have teamed up with leaders in SiC research and manufacturing to ensure their supply chains are secure for the years ahead. Nexperia, Onsemi, STMicroelectronics, Wolfspeed, Infineon, and Renesas Electronics are investing heavily in SiC chips and are pioneering breakthroughs at record speeds.
With the importance and popularity of electric vehicles expected to increase exponentially by the end of the decade, SiC developments should be monitored closely. If China’s domestic market is any indication, the age of EVs becoming mainstream is closer than many realize.