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Chinese BYD's EV sales rise

09 Mar 2018 12:31 GMT
Chinese BYD's EV sales rise

Beijing, 9 March (Argus) — China's largest electric vehicle manufacturer BYD Auto reported a sharp rise in sales and production in January-February as looming subsidy changes prompted a spike in consumer demand.

BYD's electric and hybrid vehicle sales rose by 71pc year on year to 15,687 units in January-February on expectations of subsidy cuts. Beijing finally announced the new subsidy rates on 12 February but has also included a grace period to 11 June during which buyers can obtain the old subsidies.

The government has cancelled the 20,000 yuan subsidy for electric and hybrid vehicles with a range of 150km and slashed the subsidy for 150-200km models to Yn15,000 from Yn36,000. The subsidy for 200-250km range vehicles was lowered to Yn24,000 yuan from Yn36,000 yuan and the subsidy for 250-300km fell by Yn10,000 to Yn34,000.

The new subsidy scheme should stimulate sales of vehicles with longer ranges — the subsidy for 300-400km vehicles has been raised to Yn45,000 from Yn35,000 yuan and for above 450km to Yn50,000 up by Yn6,000.

BYD Auto is one of the world's largest producers with electric and hybrid sales of 113,669 units in 2017. It forecasts sales of 200,000 units this year and has shifted to producing more vehicles with ranges above 300km.

BYD invested in a project to produce 30,000 t/yr of battery grade lithium carbonate in Qinghai province last year in co-operation with large chemical firm Qinghai Salt Lake Industry. Higher production is underpinning demand for a range of metals including lithium, cobalt, manganese and nickel.

China expects to produce 1mn electric and hybrid vehicles this year.