Beijing – EV capital of the world

If your green news feed features a lot of Elon Musk, you might have thought electric vehicles are all about Tesla in the US. However, China currently leads the electric vehicle market globally, with capital Beijing ramping up market expansion, targeting 400,000 sales by next year.

Researcher Chengxiang Zhuge Tyndall Centre at the University of East Anglia has projected the expansion of Beijing’s electric vehicle market, which will impact the environment, power grid system, and transport infrastructures.

In Zhuge’s projections, CO2 emissions could decrease to 38,280 tonnes on one weekday if battery electric vehicles (BEV) reach 40,000 sales by 2020. China’s emissions from automobiles in 2017 reached 436 million tonnes, vehicle exhaust emissions contributed between 13.5 to 52.1% of pollutants in cities like Beijing.

“Introducing electric vehicles appears to benefit the environment, though the benefit is marginal compared to the total amount of vehicular emissions. However, with the widespread adoption of EV’s, the environmental benefits could become significant,” said Zhuge.

Data shows that 17,000 BEV units were sold in Beijing in 2018, totaling to 188,000 BEV units in the capital. All of these vehicles use around 130,000 charging points. Zhuge’s research points to private charging demand to be nine times more than public charging demand, accounting for 4% of total domestic consumption in 2020. In 2018, Beijing has 130,000 charging points, 93,000 of which is privately installed for home use while 20,000 is accessible to the public and 17,000 installed for the public transport system.

Zhuge’s research also projects that the expansion of EV market could influence EV-related transport facilities like parking lots, refueling stations, and charging posts.

Under the “Action Plan for the Promotion and Application of New Energy Smart Vehicles in Beijing 2018-2020”, Beijing’s target is to double the fleet to 400,000 BEV units sold. To achieve this, Beijing plans to increase EV’s in taxis, public transport, and logistics and will continue to promote electrification of buses and vehicles for postal services.

Norway is also a leader in electric vehicles. In 2018, electric vehicles outsold gas and diesel models. Norway’s government has set a target to stop selling new gas and diesel vehicles by 2025. Globally, two million electric vehicles were sold in 2018. China, however, remains the largest electric car market in the world.

This year, Beijing has implemented new rules that will see subsidies removed for EV’s with a range below 155 miles while more expensive EV’s will have incentives slashed by as much as 60%. It has also banned companies to build BEV plants unless they have a minimum capacity of 100,000 units — a blow to EV start-ups. Credit rating agency Fitch Ratings, however, said in a CNBC interview that the EV market will not slow down because of Beijing’s drastic reduction in subsidies. Fitch projects that China is to produce 20 million vehicles next year.

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