The statistics more than demonstrate that the favorable policies and support facilities put in place by the Chinese government have gone a long way in spurring the production and sales of new energy vehicles. The facts speak for themselves: in the month of September, new energy vehicle production in the country reached 32,800 units, an increase of 210 percent compared to the same month last year.
Sales of the vehicles stood at 28,100 units, soaring 220 percent. Production and sales of pure electrics were 20,400 and 19,200 units respectively, up 270 percent and 290 percent. Production and sales of plug-in hybrids were 7,959 and 8,864 units respectively, up 110 percent and 130 percent.
Looking at a longer period, for the first nine months of 2015, new energy vehicle production amounted to 144,200 units, a jump of 200 percent compared to the corresponding period of last year. Sales of the vehicles reached 136,700 units, surging 230 percent. Production and sales of pure electrics were 93,000 and 87,500 units respectively, up 200 percent and 270 percent. Production and sales of plug-in hybrids were 51,300 and 49,200 units respectively, up 190 percent and 180 percent.
According to the development plan for the years spanning 2012 to 2020 issued by the country’s State Council, China aims to boost the production and sales of pure electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids to more than 5 million units by 2020.
Driven by significantly increased production of new energy vehicles, China’s manufacturers of power batteries, a key component of the vehicles, have entered into a period of rapid development. Many industry players have started to expand their capacity to meet the growing demand. At the same time, the recycling of power batteries has become a hot topic across the industry, as a successful recycling program is essential to the sustainable development of the new energy vehicle and power battery industries.
China’s power battery market is expected to quadruple by 2017 and break the 160 billion yuan (approx $25 billion) mark within the next 10 years, according to the China Industrial Association of Power Sources.
However, the average lifetime of a power battery remains low, at between a modest three to eight years. It has been a little more than six years since China started to promote new energy vehicles, yet 20,000 to 40,000 tons of power batteries are expected to end up in the garbage dump by the end of this year, and climb to somewhere between 120,000 to 170,000 tons by around 2020, according to the China Automotive Technology & Research Center.
The State Council’s development plan provides guidance for power battery producers on how to focus more on the recycling of waste batteries while encouraging the establishment of professional recycling companies. In addition, the government authorities in charge of environmental control have been urged to strengthen regulations in order to prevent heavy metal pollution.