>> It's the world's top market for electric vehicles by a longshot, but big names like Nissan and Tesla aren't the reason why China sells more EVs than the rest of the world combined. Chinese drivers are flocking to dealerships selling local brands. Beijing Auto's correspondent Jake Spring explains why.
>> Chinese electric cars have boomed since 2015 because of a host of government policies that make them easier to buy than petrol cars, and dirt cheap after subsidies. The subsidies on a small two-door Cherry EQ can save you up to a 100,000 renminbi, making the car cost the equivalent of about $8,000 US.
>> Buying an eco-friendly car also makes it much easier to get a license plate in China as officials come down hard on gas guzzlers in the war on pollution. It's all good news for local EV makers, but for now at least, things aren't so easy for outsiders who can only enter the market if they pair up with the Chinese manufacturer.
>> Right now, foreign brands cannot receive subsidies for EVs, only if they're offered under new brands that don't have the same amount of recognition. And oftentimes they're more expensive cuz they haven't achieved the scale of Chinese car makers in EVs. But subsidies will be rolled back by 2020, and there'll be a more even playing field between foreign and Chinese car makers.
So if foreign automakers aggressively invest, which some have plans to, they could potentially catch up sometime in 2020 or later. Big global names like GM are determined to get a foothold in the market, and they're throwing billions of dollars in making it happen. It's not just one way traffic, either.
Made in China brands like BYD are already making and selling EVs abroad, and others are eager to follow suit.