The Chinese are coming, all pure electric

The Chinese are coming, all pure electric

What will the next car be? A BYD, Sion, Lightyear, a Lucid Air, Xpeng, Nio, Wey or an Aro? Never heard of these brands? That’s going to change.

The Dutch car market will be flooded by new brands in the coming years. They have one thing in common: they are all electric and almost all come from China. According to market experts, the Chinese are going to cause a bigger revolution than when the Japanese turned the market upside down in Europe half a century ago with their cars.

One of the reasons why there are so many new car brands is that electrification has made it much easier and cheaper to develop a new car. The battery pack and powertrain can be purchased ready-made from third parties. The car manufacturer itself provides the bodywork and software. “It is almost impossible to keep track of which new brands are coming,” says Tom Huyskens of the Bovag car industry association.

Chinese car brands with European ambitions start without exception in Norway, the country that has made electric driving more affordable thanks to the subsidies and that is the testing ground for new brands that want to try it in Europe. There is money to be made in the old world. Last month, 13 percent of new cars in Europe were fully electric and that share will only increase in the coming years. Not so surprising that the Chinese try to take a big bite out of the cake. In Norway it works well. According to the German car market analyst Matthias Schmidt, one in ten new electric cars there is now a Chinese.

The new car brand Lynk & Co. © RV

The Chinese are trying what the Japanese did in the 1970s: making good cars, maybe even better than Europe itself can do, at a lower price. They also look closely at Tesla, which also turned the car market upside down. Just like with the Americans, sales are done via the internet with a service center sporadically. After all, electric cars require much less maintenance, is the idea.

The Chinese have a lot of money

“The Chinese smell blood,” says motoring journalist Roland Tameling. “They have a bravado that European manufacturers lack and a lot of money.” Wealthy investors and the Chinese government are trying to make the Chinese car industry big in Europe. “They act like Tesla and then take it up a notch. Nio, for example, builds battery exchange stations, something Tesla has already given up. By pricing competitively, they will certainly gain market share.”

Traditional car brands are doing their best to put electric cars on the market, but it is difficult. They are also busy reorganizing; the fuel cars will have to be phased out this decade, but a lot of money is still being made with them. For example, the Volkswagen Group (VW, Seat, Skoda, Audi, Porsche) built 9.3 million cars last year, 9 million of which had a petrol or diesel engine.

Among the new entrants to the European market are start-ups that only carry one or two models, as well as giants such as BYD, Build Your Dreams, is on the way. The Chinese brand is now mainly known in the Netherlands for its electric buses. But BYD electric cars are a success in the domestic market. In the first eight months of this year, BYD has already sold 150,000 copies and expectations are high. It is not for nothing that the American super investor Warren Buffett has a large package of BYD shares.

Landwind was a miss

The car of tomorrow may therefore be a Chinese one. Then the question arises: a Chinese car, is that qualitatively what? The Chinese Landwind tried it more than ten years ago in Europe, but came out of the crash tests so lousy that the brand quickly left. Other Chinese who tried it with fuel-powered cars were bitching about the environmental requirements.

In terms of quality, the Chinese cars have greatly improved. Usually 5 stars are achieved in the crash test. In fact, the Chinese promise that they are better than Tesla in terms of safety, software and range per euro. Nio, for example, has packed the ET7, one of the models that is coming to Europe, with cameras, radar and lidar scanners, so that it becomes almost self-driving.

apple?

Huyskens: ,,We have been seeing Chinese cars at international car fairs for years, but they never came. Now apparently they see an opportunity.” In fact, they are in a hurry. According to Schmidt, in 2025 – when the emission requirements become stricter again – there will be so many electric cars on the market from traditional companies that new entrants must already have market share by that time if they are to have a chance.

And then there’s the big elephant in the room: Apple. The iPhone maker has also been working for years on an electric car that can drive partly autonomously. The company regularly buys top people away from companies such as Tesla and Porsche. When the Apple Car sees the light of day and who will assemble the car is unknown. There is no laughing matter in the car industry. Everyone knows what happened to the telecom sector after the iPhone came on the market.

The Chinese are coming, all pure electric

Nio’s largest SUV, this ES8, has been on sale in Norway since this month. © Nio

Nioz, established in 2014. Headquarters Shanghai. Wants to enter the European market with the ES8 – an SUV. The car went on sale last week in Norway, Germany will follow.

The Chinese are coming, all pure electric

Lightyear One, the first, exclusive model of the solar car. © Lightyear

light year, founded in 2016. Head office Helmond. The Lightyear One runs on solar energy, which means that recharging is almost no longer necessary. Available next summer for 150,000 euros, excluding tax.

The Chinese are coming, all pure electric

Sion by Sono Motors © Sono Motors

Sono Motors, founded in 2016 by a group of friends. Headquarters in Munich. The first car, the Sion, will be a cheap solar car, covered with solar panels. Available in 2023 for 25,500 euros.

The Chinese are coming, all pure electric

Byd Tang © Byd

BYD (Build Your Dreams), founded in 2003. Headquarters in Xi’an. BYD is the market leader in China. In the Netherlands best known for the electric buses. Norway will receive the company’s first Tang SUVs this year.

The Chinese are coming, all pure electric

Xpeng G3 © Xpeng

xpeng, established in 2015. Headquarters in Guangzhou. Came onto the market in Norway last year with an suv. The rest of Europe follows.

The Chinese are coming, all pure electric

The Chinese Byton M-Byte will appear in 2020 © Byton

Byton, established in 2016. Headquarters in Nanjing. Should already be on the European market with the M-Byte, an SUV, but financial problems are playing tricks on the company. It might be summer next year.

The Chinese are coming, all pure electric

MG Marvel R electric. © MG

MG, the illustrious British brand (1924) has been owned by Shanghai Automobile Industry Corporation for years. The electric cars are made in China.

The Chinese are coming, all pure electric

Aiway U5. © Aiways

aiways, established in 2017. Shanghai headquarters. The U5, a suv is for sale in the Netherlands.

The Chinese are coming, all pure electric

Ora Cat © Ora Cat

ora and wey, two brands of Great Wall Motors, founded in 1990. For sale in Europe next year.

The Chinese are coming, all pure electric

Seres 3 © Seres

Seres, founded in 2016. Headquarters in Santa Clara, United States. The American/Chinese brand is already for sale in the Netherlands through a number of Suzuki dealers.

The Chinese are coming, all pure electric

Hongqi E-HS9 © Hongqi

Hongqi, founded in 1958. Hongqi means Red Flag, the brand once built the limos for the Chinese party top. Comes next year with a whopper of an electric SUV, the E-HS9, to Europe.

The Chinese are coming, all pure electric

Polestar 2. © Bart Hoogveld

polestar, founded in 1990. Head office in Gothenburg, Sweden, but the Volvo spin-off is more Chinese than Swedish. The Polestar 2 has been on sale since 2019. Also sister brand Lynk & Co (2016) is already active in the Netherlands with an electric model.

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