China could be world's leading electric vehicle producer: expert

Updated 2017-04-17 10:01:23 Xinhua
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A driver charges the electric car at the Nanxun ancient town in Huzhou City, east China's Zhejiang Province, Nov. 10, 2016. Huzhou built electric vehicle chargers in some scenic areas to promote electric car. (Xinhua/Xu Yu)

The Chinese lithium-ion battery industry is growing to be the most powerful in the world, said Simon Moores, managing director of Benchmark Mineral Intelligence.

In a recent interview with Xinhua, Moores said that the world are seeing the rise of lithium-ion battery megafactories. "While it was started by Tesla's Gigafactory, 70 percent of this new capacity is being built in China by major producers such as BYD, ATL, and Lishen."

"We are also seeing Japanese and Korean manufacturers migrate to china to build their megafactories," he added.

The capacity of all lithium-ion plants in China currently is 16.4 GWh, and will increase to 107.5 GWh totally by 2020, according to Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, a price data collection and assessment company specializing in the lithium ion battery supply chain. That means China will have 62 percent of the world's lithium-ion battery production capacity by that time.

The growth of lithium-ion market is propelled by the increase in demand for electric vehicle (EV), strict government mandates on fuel economy and other factors.

"This global market is evolving rapidly from vehicles with smaller batteries to large EVs," Moores said. "While the rise of E-bikes in China has been significant, the replacement of gasoline cars with pure electric vehicles will be the key change."

Moores said once the world has cars which can travel 230 miles (370 km) on a single charge, and at a reasonable price, then the EV market has truly arrived. "We are about 3 years away from this," he added.

Moores said investment into the lithium-ion battery and cooperation with major technology companies to build new EVs are important for China to maintain a leading status.

"China could be the world's leading producer of EVs -- both Chinese and western brands. Collaboration would see china grasp this opportunity with both hands," he added.

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