China Is Conquering the Electric Car Market

US may impose tariffs on foreign imports as soon as this coming week
By Gina Carey,  Newser Staff
Posted May 12, 2024 9:30 AM CDT
China Is Bounding Ahead in the EV Game
Visitors look at a Zeekr Mix car during the China Auto Show in Beijing, China.   (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana)

China has been stepping up its game in the electric vehicle market, with more than 70 new models on sale this year alone. One big factor is that Chinese automakers are able to develop vehicles much faster—roughly 30% faster—than "legacy manufacturers," per the Wall Street Journal. (The story digs into how they have "upended global practices" to make that happen.) Meanwhile, the New York Times runs through some of the newer bells and whistles that pose a threat to offerings from Western competitors, including Tesla. Some of the advances include:

  • Better battery life: Chinese-based battery producer CATL, the world's biggest EV battery manufacturer, has unveiled a lighter battery with more power. They claim a 10-minute charge can power a car for up to 370 miles.
  • Design improvements: Smaller batteries leave space for roomier interiors, especially in the back seat. Some manufacturers are focusing on making seats thicker and more comfortable, while expanding legroom. Braking has also seen some improvement due to bigger tires.
  • Self-driving cars: Safety concerns and stronger regulations have stalled some of the momentum on autonomous vehicles stateside, while Chinese authorities are embracing the technology and generally see it as safer than human drivers. Regulators approved data security arrangements that allow more flexibility in autonomous driving for Tesla and five Chinese manufacturers.

Moves to increase exports have put the industry on notice, with Tesla CEO Elon Musk (who once laughed off Chinese rivals such as BYD) saying that without strong trade barriers, Chinese competition would "demolish" the industry at home, Business Insider reports. Rumors that automakers MG, BYD, and Chery Exports plan to build plants in Mexico have raised concerns, with fears they would potentially give the producers "a backdoor to the US market." The Biden administration is set to announce tariffs on EV imports as early as the coming week, reports Reuters. (California has reached a milestone in EV charging.)

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