Research Briefing | Mar 10, 2023

China drives its way up EV exporter rankings

Global electric vehicle (EV) trade has grown undeterred in the last five years—increasing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 50.4% between 2017-2021—as multiple nations and regions encouraged EV adoption as means for meeting long-term climate change targets. China has benefitted most with its strong competitive advantages moving it up to second place in the global EV exporter rankings.

What you will learn:

  • Chinese EV exports have risen exponentially throughout this five-year period, swiftly becoming the second largest global EV exporter by 2021, accounting for 15.5% of global EV exports compared to a mere 1.3% in 2017. Substantial government support, comparative advantages in battery manufacturing, and a rapid build-up of EV charging infrastructure have boosted China’s EV production, domestic sales, and exports.
  • Looking on the other side of the global trade equation, a plethora of countries are increasingly importing EVs on the back of China’s growing global presence in the market. Continuously improving Chinese EVs as well as foreign branded China-made EVs have continued to make inroads into the European market. At the same time, Chinese brands have managed to capture a large portion of its domestic EV market, evidenced by the reduction in EV imports in 2020-21.
  • We forecast a steady increase in EV penetration globally—from 13% in 2022 to 40% in 2030—and across major regions over the forecast horizon. This provides an opportunity to China, but whether it can maintain its position as a leading EV exporter will depend on its continued attractiveness as a production location for domestic and foreign OEMs as well as its ability to convince consumers abroad of the reliability and quality of its homegrown EV brands.
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