Say goodbye to the US car market as we know it: Cheap Chinese EVs are coming
Business Insider, 16 May 2023
After years of preparation, Chinese car companies are poised to upend the US electric-vehicle market.
Industry watchers say it’s only a matter of time before Chinese automakers bring their impressive — and importantly, inexpensive — electric cars to the US. After years of threatening to set up shop in America, the companies are closer than ever to making the move.
On their home turf, Chinese companies have already vanquished their American competitors, eating up market share from the likes of Ford and General Motors by offering better quality and less expensive electric cars for shoppers. They’ve started exporting a slew of brands to Europe too.
As Chinese car-industry leaders like Nio and Geely eye a move to the States, the question is whether they can overcome political frictions – and whether American buyers will go along for the ride?
“It’s going to be an interesting couple of years ahead to see whether Ford and GM and the like can stave off that Chinese competition coming in,” Martin French, a managing director at the consultancy Berylls, said. “From what we saw at the Shanghai auto show this year, that competition is very, very real.”
China’s EV industry has exploded in recent years. In 2022, US EV sales hit a new high of 800,000, while Chinese buyers snapped up some 5 million electric passenger vehicles. After years unchallenged, Tesla is about to lose its crown as the world’s largest EV maker to a Chinese company, BYD.
Let nobody say they weren’t warned:
Jun Arima: Eco-fundamentalism as Grist for China’s Mill (pdf)
5) If the battery is the key to an EV future, China’s got a lock on it
Auto Blog, 16 May 2023
Here’s just how much the Chinese dominate in mining, production and research
The race to build a better (translation: cheaper) battery for the soon-to-come wave of electric cars has barely begun. But The New York Times has already declared a winner.
In a thoroughly researched article this week in the Times, called “Can the world make an electric car battery without China?,” the reporters conclude that the Chinese have already captured the prize. They are “so far ahead mining rare minerals, training engineers and building huge factories that the rest of the world may take decades to catch up.”
Bold predictions, but reporters Keith Bradshaw and Agnes Chang take pains to back them up, by detailing China’s super ambitious chain of production, from taking raw materials out of the earth to actually building the vehicles that use the lithium ion batteries.
Theirs is a scenario focusing on supply controls — mining ingredients such as cobalt, lithium, nickel, and more — that is likely to allow the Chinese a dominant position in the battery chase. And while Western countries are playing catch-up to source these materials, they have balked at investing “into countries with unstable governments or poor labor practices. And they have been slow to ramp up their own production,” the story goes on to say.
The Chinese, on the other hand, lack such restraints and have relied on state funds to acquire stakes in mining firms on five continents. As a result, the reports states, “China controls 41 percent of the world’s cobalt mining, and the most mining for lithium, which carries a battery’s electric charge.”
The piece goes on to explain the complex processing and refining steps needed to create a usable battery, and says that once again the Chinese have the upper hand there. Today, it says, the United States “has little processing capability. A refinery typically takes two to five years to build. Training workers and adjusting equipment can take additional time.”
For high schoolers looking to cite some relevant source material for their term papers on EVs, the Times story is a font of information, displayed quick-hit style right up front:
* Cobalt mining: 41% globally is Chinese owned
* Cobalt refining: 73% in China
* Cathodes: 77% made in China
* Anodes: 92% made in China
* Battery cells: 66% assembled in China
* Electric cars: 54% built in China
“China has the most electric cars on the road, and nearly all of them use Chinese-made batteries,” the piece says. “In 2015, Beijing enacted policies to block foreign rivals and raise consumer demand… Electric car buyers in China get tax rebates, cheaper vehicle registration, preferential parking and access to an extensive charging network.”.