Beijing is the EV capital of the world

Beijing is the driving force behind China leading the global electric vehicle (EV) market, new research has found.

This is according to The Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, which has projected the expansion of Beijing’s EV market as the city targets 400,000 EV sales next year.

The centre says that the growth of the EV market could significantly lower China’s emissions from automobiles, which in 2017 reached 436 million tonnes and contributed between an eighth to half of the pollutants in cities like Beijing.

‘Introducing electric vehicles appears to benefit the environment, though the benefit is marginal compared to the total amount of vehicular emissions,’ said Chengxiang Zhuge, researcher at the Tyndall Centre.

‘However, with the widespread adoption of EVs, the environmental benefits could become significant,’ he added.

Rush hour in Beijing, China. Beijing saw 188,000 electric vehicles in 2018 and hopes to double its number of EV sales to 400,000 by 2020. Credit: CC0 Public domain.

17,000 BEVs were sold in Beijing in 2018, raising the number of battery electric vehicles in the capital to 188,000.

According to Zhuge’s research, CO2 emissions in Beijing could decrease to 38,280 tonnes on one weekday if battery electric vehicles (BEVs) reach 40,000 sales in the city by 2020.

Beijing had 130,000 charging points in 2018 with 93,000 of them privately installed for home use, while private charging demand is expected to reach 4% of total domestic energy consumption in 2020.

The centre’s research suggests that Beijing’s expanding EV market could lead to the rapid addition of further facilities to support EVs such as parking lots, refuelling stations and charging points.

Beijing currently plans to reach its target of 400,000 BEVs by 2020 by increasing EVs in taxis, public transport and logistics, while continuing to promote the electrification of buses and vehicles for its postal services.

Beijing’s target may have been put in doubt by China’s announcement earlier this year that it will be cutting subsidies in EVs with a range below 250km, with more expensive EVs set to see their subsidies cut by as much as 60%.

Instead, China will begin shifting its focus to hydrogen fuel cell vehicles which have a longer range than plug-in electric vehicles.

China has also banned companies from building BEV plants unless they have a minimum capacity of 100,000 units, which will inhibit smaller EV companies.

Despite this, China’s EV market is not expected to slow down, with China still expected to produce 20 million EVs next year.