Electric cars produced by Chinese makers are not a frequent sight on European streets. But competitive pressure is increasing very rapidly.
Chinese manufacturers know the recipe for entering the foreign market: products must be affordable and innovative. In cars, this motto translates to lower prices compared to alternative offers from European manufacturers and the highest safety ratings. Of course, cars need to be packed with the latest technology, too.
In just a few recent months, several Chinese electric vehicles received five-star ratings in the European New Car Assessment Program (NCAP), noted Reuters. With the transport safety requirements getting stricter every year, achieving this level of technical assessment is impossible without a host of technologies related to passive and active safety features.
The safety of a new vehicle is a dominating parameter that defines overall sales. Electric cars are not an exception to this rule. Five-star Euro NCAP ratings are universally recognized by Chinese automotive companies as a necessary criterion in order to reduce concerns European buyers may have regarding new electric models coming from China.
In the not-so-distant past, the Chinese automotive industry suffered a blow to its overall image after some cars received the worst ratings in 2006 and 2007. More than a decade was needed to recover and to change the development priorities to focus on the latest technologies and safety features.
Currently, many European car manufacturers are struggling to keep up with increased demand from corporate and car rental markets – in some cases, customer waiting times have been pushed beyond 12 months. That is why EV producers have been focusing on the retail market where they can achieve higher profits.
Meanwhile, China has already become the largest market for EVs. This is also why Chinese automotive companies are seeking to replicate their success in Europe, too. German rental company Sixt has already announced it is planning to buy 100,000 EVs from BYD – right after its Atto 3 SUV received a 5-star NCAP rating.
Currently, Chinese cars comprise only 1.4% of all new vehicles sold in the EU. However, nearly half of these models were EVs, and in this segment Chinese EVs are already taking a 5.8% market share.