China’s New-Energy Vehicles Are Being Crippled By Quality Issues

China is leading the worldwide race in the production and sales of electrified vehicles, but quality issues are hurting the local industry, Bloomberg reports.

The Asian superpower began ramping up production of new-energy vehicles (NEVs) in 2015 with the introduction of the ‘Made in China 2025’ industrial strategy. Exorbitant amounts of money have been provided to car manufacturers and battery producers through generous subsidies, and the government has even issued mandates for electric vehicle production regardless of demand. New tariffs have also been applied on imported cars to encourage locals to buy vehicles built in China.

This strategy is definitely working. In 2018, Chinese car manufacturers sold a record 1.256 million NEVs, most of which feature all-electric powertrains. The country has a goal of hitting 2 million NEV sales in 2020 and it’s on track to achieve that goal. However, Chinese media has started to reveal issues plaguing many local manufacturers.

In 2018, a total of 135,700 NEVs were recalled across China, more than 10 per cent of all NEVs produced. It is claimed that most issues were related to batteries, with at least 40 vehicles spontaneously combusting. Other common issues include overheating batteries, faulty transmissions, faulty odometers, and batteries that drained faster than they should.

A recent survey conducted in China found that almost 70 per cent of respondents regretted buying an NEV.

Thanks to the government’s subsidies and other factors, electric vehicle startups are sprouting throughout the country in hard-to-believe numbers. It is thought that China is home to upwards of 500 NEV startups, and as these companies are beginning to discover, building hybrid and electric vehicles isn’t easy.

In a move which may help improve the quality of budget NEVs, the government is looking to eliminate subsidies for shorter-range NEVs. Only time will tell if that’s enough to fix the issues.

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  • Dennis James

    Well…good EV technology is too scarce and closely guarded for the Chinese to steal and copy, it’s also very expensive and requires highly qualified people, so they imagined they could just use their electric toys “technology” to build cars…

    • Sovereignty

      Maybe you should read about Polestar before making hilarious statements like that. You have any idea who owns the company and where they are being built? Obviously not.

      • Marc Gruben

        The article pertains to cars on the road having actual quality problems. Polestar has not yet delivered a single electric vehicle so the statement could still apply to them as well. As for Chinese automakers in general, they have a well-known and documented history of plagiarizing other automakers designs, so Dennis James’ statement isn’t that farfetched.

        • Sovereignty

          Having read the Tesla forums for quite a few years now, it looks like US built EVs aren’t much better either.

          • Super Rob

            Tesla’s don’t catch fire on their own, they wreck on their own.

          • Alduin

            Yes by the idiot Tesla owners behind the wheel.

  • Ken Lyns

    How does that compare to defect rate on Chinese-built non-EVs?

  • Mr. EP9

    It’s China. That’s to be expected.

  • No surprise here. It’s like China’s instant, spit-n-paste, phantom cities that crumble soon after they are built, due to shoddy construction.

  • TheBelltower

    Everyone under the sun seems to believe that they can just start an EV company. And each one of them quickly learns that it’s not that easy. US car companies that have existed for a hundred years only just recently started building vehicles that feel like they came from a developed country.

  • Alduin

    Hydrogen Fuel cell needs to take off already. Once they do EV’s will be worthless.

    • eye.surgeon

      This comment will be laughably priceless in about 5 years, if it isn’t already.

      • Alduin

        Oh really? Do you know lithium is a nonrenewable resource right? What exactly is going to happen to all these batteries once they’re depleted and used up? How can the grid sustain charging millions of electric vehicles?

  • Ronald Roman

    Unbelievable. Who would have expected that? Say it isn’t so…

  • Stephen G

    Electric vehicles are not NEV’s. They have been around for over 100 years.

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