China’s EV Charge Continues

By Glenn Dyer | More Articles by Glenn Dyer

It’s no wonder lithium prices in China (the world price setter) continue to be strong.

Buried in China’s weak production figures on Monday was more good news for those enthusiastic about green metals like lithium – despite weak sales and output data showing weak demand overall, Chinese buyers again grabbed as many electric vehicles as they could.

China calls EVs new energy vehicles (0r NEV), and production grew 135% in October to 383,000 units.

That was up slightly from the 357,000 produced in September.

Sales in October leapt to 321,000, 141,000 more than the same month in 2020.

For the January-October period, NEV retail sales totalled 2.14 million units, up 192% over the year (NEV’s share is 13%).

China is forecast to end this year with total NEV sales around 2.8 million units, though the industry reckons it will be 2.4 million.

Driving another month of rising sales was the central government’s promotion of greener vehicles to cut pollution.

These include battery-powered electric vehicles, plug-in petrol-electric hybrids and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles.

Tesla sold 54,391 China-made vehicles in October, slightly less than 56,006 the previous month when it hit the highest monthly sales in China since it started production in Shanghai about two years ago.

Of that figure, Tesla shipped 44,666 units offshore last month, according to figures from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.

BYD, which includes Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway as a big shareholder, topped October’s NEV sales with 80,000 units.

Car sales in China dropped by 9.4% year-on-year to 2.33 million units in October, the 6th consecutive month of falls, as a global shortage of semiconductors continued to hurt the sector.  That was a better outcome than the 19.6% slide in September.

NEV’s share of October’s total sales was nearly 14%. But of car sales, the share was almost 19%.


About Glenn Dyer

Glenn Dyer has been a finance journalist and TV producer for more than 40 years. He has worked at Maxwell Newton Publications, Queensland Newspapers, AAP, The Australian Financial Review, The Nine Network and Crikey.

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