If the overall Chinese market is slowly picking up (+12% YoY), plugins are already on the fast lane, growing by 138% YoY in November, to a record 198,000 units, and this time PHEVs grew faster (+164%), than BEVs (+134%), but despite this uptick from plugin hybrids, BEVs still own 80% of the market.
Last month, plugin share reached a record 8.6% (7.2% BEV), pulling the 2020 share to 5.9% (4.7% BEV), a half percent increase that has finally pulled over the 2019 result of 5.5%, and with December set to establish yet another record score, expect the final PEV share to end North of the 6% mark, but this is only the beginning, as next year we should see a few two digit monthly shares, preparing the disruption to finally set in by 2022...In the largest automotive market in the World.
And once we get to that point, then it's time over for ICE.
Looking at November Best Sellers, we have 3 City EVs, confirming the return of small EVs to the spotlight, with the Wuling EV keeping the Best Seller status.
Here’s November Top 5 Best Selling models individual performance:
#1 – Wuling HongGuang Mini EV
A big name for a small car, the Wuling EV scored 33,094 units last month, its 5th record score in a row, meaning that the production ramp up is continuing, and expect the tiny four-seater to grow even further next month. The reason for this tremendous success? It is one of the cheapest EVs on the market ($4,200!!!), and yet, it’s not all that bad, as the SAIC-GM-Wuling joint-venture model can seat 4 people in car that is a tad larger (2,917 mm / 114.8 in) than a Smart Fortwo EV. Range is not brilliant (smaller battery version has 9.2 kWh battery, top spec version has a 13.8 kWh battery), just like the motor (27hp), but it has only 665 kg curb weight to carry around and is highway capable, so in order to have the 4,200 USD price, without subsidies, one can’t expect miracles... At this price level, the Wuling EV is a disruptive force in urban mobility, not only against 4-wheeled private transportation, but also against 2 and 3-wheelers. This EV is becoming a game changer in China, and should do the same elsewhere, if (when?) it manages to expand to overseas markets.
#2 – Tesla Model 3
The poster child for electric mobility hit a record 21,606 units last month, with Tesla’s midsizer now being almost exclusively made locally, only 2 units came from Freemont, and with December being usually the highest peak in this market, will we see it reach some 25,000 units in December? Looking at next year sales performance, expect it to build on the current numbers, growing moderately, because despite the internal competition of the new MiC Model Y, China's mainstream market is still very much a sedan-friendly market, so its higher riding sibling will have less impact here, than in SUV-crazed USA, or hatchback-friendly Europe, where the Model Y's hatchback-desguised as SUV form will help it thrive.
#3 – Great Wall ORA Black Cat (R1)
Probably inspired by Deng Xiaoping famous quote: "It doesn't matter wether a cat is black or white, as long as it catched mice", Great Wall decided to create a Cat Pack, transforming its tiny R1 Smart-lookalike into the Black Cat, launching the R2 model (think Scion XB/Toyota Urban Cruiser kind of vehicle) as the White Cat, and to lead the Pack, Great Wall is launching of the Good Cat, a chunky (and funky) compact hatchback (VW Golf sized) that kinda looks like a Porsche 356 in the front, a Toyota from the side, and the back...Well, it’s its own thing. But enough of the Good Cat, we are here to talk about the Black Cat, that delivered 9,463 units in November, it's 2nd record score in a row, so the new name is allowing a second youth to the small EV. So for December, will it get...10,000
#4 – BYD Han EV
BYD's flagship model was 4th in November, having registered 7,842 units, its 4th record performance in a row, so it looks the production ramp up is still happening, and demand willing, the Han EV should score its first five-digit score next month. One of the most competitive domestic EVs on the market, the flagship BYD is becoming a regular in this Top 5, thanks to competitive pricing, it's the size of a Model S, and yet it costs only $32,800, less than the cheaper Model 3. But price doesn't tell the whole story, with a cutting edge 77 kWh LFP battery allowing it to reach 605 km (376 miles) NEDC range (think 400 km / 250 miles in real world), the Han EV is a whole package, with good looks, competitive specs and features, with the killer prices being just the icing on the cake.
#5 – SAIC Baojun E-Series
Compared with the bare basics Wuling EV, the Baojun E-Series (E100/200/300) are the SGMW more hip and upmarket city models, with demand hitting record levels, with 7,842 units being delivered in November. The access to the current subsidy, added to competitive pricing (CNY 93,900 / USD 14,700) before subsidies, makes them appealing for young urban drivers, as well as car-sharing companies and other fleets.
Looking at the remaining Best Sellers table in November, in a record month, several models hit best ever scores, like the Li Xiang One, that with 4,646 units, was last month Best Selling PHEV, consolidating its status as the Best Selling Large SUV and the most successful model coming from a local EV startup.
Speaking of local startups, the Welmeister EX5 hit another record month (3,018 units), while BYD had 3 models with record scores, besides the aforementioned Han EV, its plugin hybrid twin, the Han PHEV (2,623) continued its record streak, with the two models clocking 10,105 units if added together, while the compact BYD e2 also reached a record performance, its second in a row, with 2,670 units, with these performances confirming the return to form from the Shenzhen maker.
A final reference to the surprise appearance of FAW's baby Hongqi, the E-HS3, in #19, with the Premium brand's compact SUV scoring a record performance of 2,552 units, which could be a good sign for the upcoming full-size
yacht SUV, the Hongqi E-HS9.
Looking at the 2020 ranking, if the Model 3 is the 2020 undisputed leader, but below it, the Wuling Mini EV is already preparing next year's assault to the Best Selling EV title in China.
This highlights the latest trend in China, City EVs are returning to the spotlight, not only with the Wuling EV, but also the Great Wall Ora Black Cat, that jumped two spots, to #4, not forgetting the #5 Baojun E-Series and the #7 Chery eQ, thus making 4 City EVs in the Top 7.
But it weren’t only City EVs rising in the table, as the local EV startups continue climbing positions, with the Li Xiang One rising to #8, securing the Best Selling PHEV spot in the table, while the Best Selling Full Size model title is almost in the bag, as the BYD Han EV is 7,000 units behind, and speaking of the flagship BYD, the big electric sedan was the Climber of the Month, jumping from #18 to #12, as it prepares to storm through the Top 10 in the last month of the year.
The much hyped XPeng P7 also had reasons to celebrate, as the sedan climbed to #19, while the relifted Changan Eado EV joined the table, in #20.
Looking at the manufacturers ranking, the SGMW joint-venture (15%) jumped to the leadership, surpassing BYD (also 15%) and #2 Tesla (12%), all at once, mostly thanks to the disruptive force of the Wuling Mini EV.
Below the podium, the race is tight, SAIC (6%, down 1% share) is 4th, followed by the #5 GAC (5%, down 1%), and #6 Volkswagen (also 5%).