Tue, 05 Dec 2023

BEIJING, China: Chinese electric vehicle (EV) makers aim to win over European drivers and large corporate customers with more affordable cars, which are in line with the highest safety standards and have many high-tech features.

Several Chinese EVs have received five-star European New Car Assessment Programme (NCAP) ratings, which require equipping vehicles with active and passive safety features that are above legal requirements.

"All Chinese EV makers want to achieve Euro NCAP five-star ratings in order to be more competitive in the European market," said Brian Gu, president of Chinese EV maker Xpeng, as quoted by Reuters.

Chinese EV makers have recognized that safety is important to sales, said Matthew Avery, director at Thatcham Research, a British car research centre funded by insurers and a Euro NCAP board member.

"Fleet sales are very important and a lot of fleets have a mandatory five-star rating for buying cars," Avery said, according to Reuters.

To meet sustainability goals, many fleets want to switch to EVs as soon as possible, but as supply chain issues have pushed waiting times for some models to more than 12 months, corporate fleets have struggled to deliver enough EVs to Europe.

Supply chain shortages and high demand have allowed European carmakers to raise EV prices and focus more on retail clients, rather than customers that have traditionally been less profitable, such as car rental firms.

This has created opportunities for Chinese EV makers, which have progressed faster than most foreign rivals in China, by far the world's largest EV market.

French auto consultancy Inovev said that some 155,000 Chinese-made cars were sold in Europe in the first nine months of 2022, or 1.4 percent of the market, with Chinese firms being on track to hit 150,000 cars this year, some double the 80,000 sold in 2021.

According to Inovev, by 2030 EVs will account for 40 percent of Europe's new car sales, and Chinese brands will represent between 12.5 percent to 20 percent of that fully-electric market, with sales of between 725,000 and 1.16 million.

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