Last Updated on October 8, 2021 by Henry John
With a population of 1.402 billion, a GDP of USD 14.72 trillion, and a per capita of USD 10,500, is not hard to see why China is the biggest automobile market in the world, both in demand and supply.
The People’s Republic of China is committed to achieving a green economy, aiming to peak greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and reach net zero emissions by 2060.
China is also targeting new energy vehicles (NEVs) to account for 25% of total car sales in the country by 2025, and in a race to achieve this target, the country has grown to become the biggest EV market worldwide by far.
In August 2021, the market share of new energy vehicles rose to a record 17% in China, this shows how close China is to achieve its 2025 goals. In comparison NEVs market share in the US is just 3% of new vehicles sold in the same timeframe.
The Chinese government knows that the future of cars lays in EV and AV, for a country whose goal is to dominate the global marketplace, it comes as no surprise that its automakers are heavily invested in developing electric vehicles (new energy vehicles in general).
Here are the top 10 Chinese electric vehicles (EV) companies leading the EV race in China:
BYD is engaged in the research, development, manufacture, and distribution of automobiles, secondary rechargeable batteries, and mobile phone components. It’s Automotive Subsidiary, BYD Auto Co., Ltd. Is one of the leading electric vehicle company in China and in the world at large.
BYD Auto manufactures a wide range of electric vehicles which includes battery-electric and hybrid electric vehicles, among its top selling EVs are BYD Qin Plus PHEV, BYD Song Pro PHEV, BYD Qin Plus EV, and BYD Han (BEV).
In August 2021, BYD’s Qin Plus PHEV with 13,043 sales was the second-best top-selling electric vehicle in China, with Wuling Hong Guang Mini EV (41,188) coming in the first place.
When you consider that the Wuling Honggsuang Mini is a microcar and that four of BYD’s EVs were in the best 10 top-selling electric vehicles in August 2021 in China, you being to see why BYD is one of the dominant EV manufacturers in China.
On a year-to-date basis, BYD has the second largest market share in the plug-in electric segment of the Chinese auto market. With a 16% market share, the company is far ahead of Tesla which has the third-largest market share with 10%.
SAIC-GM-Wuling (SGMW) is a joint venture between Chinese automakers, SAIC (50.1 %) and Liuzhou Wuling Motors (5.9%), and American automaker General Motors (44%). It has five subsidiaries including Baojun and Etsong Vehicle Manufacturing.
It’s the maker of the most popular EV in China, the Wuling Hong Guang MINI EV which has been sold over 250,000 times in China so far in 2021.
SGMW sells its car under the Wuling and Baojun brand name and logo. It ventures into the EV world with the manufacturing of its micro electric cars (also known as city cars); the Wuling Hongguang Mini and Wuling Nano EV.
Interestingly over 60% of China’s population live in urban areas in 2020 according to the World Bank. The numbers have been on the rise since the 1970s.
The Wuling Hongguang Mini debuted in July 2020, positioned as “the People’s Commuting Tool”, and has since grown to become China’s best-selling EV, beating Tesla’s Model 3 to the top spot. As a matter of fact, in January 2021 the ‘city car’ was the best-selling EV worldwide.
SAIC-GM-Wuling was formed in 2002. The company will continue to be a major player in China’s EV market as the country race to peak its carbon emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality in 2060.
NIO Inc. is a pioneer in China’s premium smart electric vehicle market. NIO’s mission is to shape a joyful lifestyle by offering premium smart electric vehicles and being the best user enterprise.
The company designs, jointly manufactures, and sells smart and connected premium electric vehicles, driving innovations in next-generation technologies in connectivity, autonomous driving, and artificial intelligence.
NIO is redefining its user experience by providing users with comprehensive, convenient, and innovative charging solutions and other user-centric services.
It began deliveries of the ES8, a 7-seater high-performance premium electric SUV in China in June 2018, and its variant, the six-seater ES8, in March 2019.
NIO officially launched the ES6, a 5-seater high-performance premium electric SUV, in December 2018 and began deliveries in June 2019. It officially launched the EC6, a 5-seater smart premium electric Coupe SUV, in December 2019 and began deliveries in September 2020.
The company announced the launch of the eT7, its flagship smart sedan with a range of up to 620 miles (1,000km), in 2021 and scheduled it for release in 2022.
NIO is by far one of the most promising EV companies in China, if not the most promising, one can dub it the Tesla of China.
4. Xpeng Motors
Xpeng Motors is an electric vehicle and technology company that designs and manufactures smart cars. Xipeng Motors focuses on local needs and the consumer experience, while also integrating autonomous driving and internet electronic technologies, their vehicles are greater than the sum of their parts.
Xpeng Motors is not only dedicated to serving every family with technology but also to become a companion that truly understands you.
Xpeng is equipped with experts from top companies in the field such as Tesla, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Ford, Mazda, GAC Motor, Alibaba Group, Tencent, Huawei, P&G and Mi, and more.
Electric cars, the Internet, and cross-border brand-retail and internet integration have made Xpeng a pioneer of this industry.
The company has three EV models which comprise two sedans, Xpeng P7 and Xpeng P5; and one SUV, Xpeng G3.
5. Li Auto
Lixiang, formerly known as Chehejia (“Car and Home”), is a Beijing-based electric vehicle startup that plans to disrupt the transportation and auto industries through complete vertical integration.
It designs, researches, manufactures, sells and offers services featuring a few models of electric vehicles.
It develops vehicles including smart EVs and electric SUVs to provide customers with longer crosstown journeys. Its first EV model, Li Xiang One, an electric SUV is among the top-selling electric cars in China. Its sales number oftentimes beats that of Nio and Xpeng in 2021.
Lixiang also offers rental services and Uber-like on-demand ride-hailing.
It was founded in 2015.
6. SAIC Motor
SAIC Motor is the largest auto group in China, listed as the largest auto company by market capitalization in the Chinese A-share stock market. In 2020, SAIC Motor sold 5.6 million vehicle units which represent a -10.01% YoY change.
In 2020, the revenue of SAIC Motor was CNY 742.132 billion, representing a 12.0% decline year over year.
SAIC Motors is one of the biggest car manufacturers by revenue, it has one of the widest range of EV models of any Chinese automaker, across its different brands and subsidiaries.
The automaker owns the M.G. Car Company whose EV models range from MG5 EV, MG ZS EV to MG HS PLUG-IN HYBRID. Its EV model, MG ZS, is one of the top five best-selling electric cars in the Uk. And Under the Roewe brand, SAIC’s EVs models include; E50, Clever, eRX5, ERX5, e950, Marvel X/Marvel R, and Ei5.
SAIC’s range of electric vehicles does not just end with SUVs and Sedans, it also includes the LDV’s EV30 and EV80, and Maxus eDeliver 3 and eDeliver 9 electric vans which it sells under the MAXUS brand name and logo.
Also recall that SAIC owns 50.1% of the SAIC-GM-Wuling joint venture that produces the best-selling EV in China, the Wuling Hongguang Mini.
7. Geely Auto
Geely Auto Group is a leading automobile manufacturer based in Hangzhou, China, and was founded in 1997 as a subsidiary of Zhejiang Geely Holding Group. Geely Auto Group sells vehicles under the Geely Auto brand and holds a 50% stake in the LYNK & CO brand. The company is China’s biggest carmaker.
Zeekr, a Geely Auto premium EV brand, starts production of its first electric car model, the Zeekr 001 in 2021. The brand Zeekr is dubbed the electric sister of another Geely Auto brand, Lynk & Co.
This ‘electric sisterhood’ does not start with Zeekr, Volvo another Geely brand has an electric sister branded as Polestar. Polestar is an all-electric Geely brand that has two EV models so far, the Polestar 1 and Polestar 2.
Geely is also a majority shareholder of Lotus Cars which produces the limited production electric hypercar, the Lotus Evija, that has a starting price of $2.3 million.
Overall, Geely Auto is a stronger Chinese EV player, its Volvo brand plays to go fully electric by 2030.
8. WM Motor
WM Motor is a Chinese EV startup that designs, manufactures, develops, and markets energy and battery-operated vehicles.
Its EV models include three SUVs (Weltmeiseter EX5, Weltmeiseter EX6, and Weltmeiseter W6) and two sedan (Weltmeiseter E5 and Weltmeiseter E7).
It provides energy vehicle products and travel solutions to its customers. The company aims to conserve electronic vehicles in addition to intelligent data hardware, enabling consumers to utilize smart cars that are efficient and energy conserving.
9. BAIC BJEV
Beijing Electric Vehicle Co., Ltd. is the electric vehicle unit of BAIC Group, an automobile group that engages in automobile R&D and manufacturing, automotive parts manufacturing, automotive service and trade, and other businesses.
The company (BJEV) was spun off in 2017 with the primary car brand called “Arcfox”, so far the brand has four EV models namely; Arcfox Lite, ArcFox αT, ArcFox GT, and ArcFox αS.
It sells its mainstream EVs under the BEIJING brand, its wide range of EV models are offered in three major series; the EU (EU 5 and) EU 7 and, EX (EX 360, EX 3 and EX 5), and EC (EC 3, EC 180, EC 200) series.
The ArcFox αS is powered by Huawei’s intelligent vehicle software “Huawei Inside”, and the company is planning to tap the technological prowess of Baidu to power a fleet of 1,000 level-5 self-driving “Apollo Moon” robotaxis.
BAIC is one of the best-selling Chinese EV companies and once a very powerful play in China’s EV market, however, the company’s sales have been on the decline in recent times.
AIWAYS is a maker of smart electric car, based in Shanghai. AIWAYS’ two core technologies are electric drive and artificial intelligence.
The Chinese EV startup has two production electric vehicles, the Aiways U5 and the Aiways U6, both EVs are compact crossover SUVs.
The company was founded in 2017 by Former China sales Chief of Volvo CArs, Fu Qiang and Gary Gu.
It covers the three major areas of travel services, automobile retail, and energy operation.