Why is China Leading the Way in Electric Cars
There’s no ancient Chinese secret behind the economic giant’s dominance over the global electric car industry. It’s actually happening for very simple reasons – China has all the necessary motivations and resources to do it. Beijing’s levels of air pollution are well documented, and this is one of the major ways in which the country can clean up the ill effects of its massive industries.
China is accomplishing this in a number of ways. Bloomberg details how in 2019, the Chinese government will start imposing sanctions on major manufacturers that don’t follow its strict requirements for low to zero-emission cars. Sanctions can be avoided by purchasing credits from other manufacturers that manage to exceed the environmental requirements or quotas. This cap-and-trade system is designed to create an electric vehicle-friendly economy while curtaining the amount of gas guzzlers on the road. The results? Sales for electric cars have exceeded one million this year in China – a first for the world.
At the same time, these sales account for only 3% of overall vehicle sales in China. It would be an understatement to say that there’s room for growth, which is exactly what the country is banking on. Under the Made in China 2025 program, China wants its electric vehicle industry to account for 40% of all auto car sales. Government sanctions, manufacturing ability, and China’s African mining operations – which supply the cobalt needed to create rechargeable lithium car batteries – all combine to establish China as the world leader in electric vehicles.
While there’s no doubt that China is leading the way, this isn’t to say that European engineers are doing nothing to develop electric car technology. In fact, we recently tackled how researchers from the EU are in the midst of developing a prototype that can improve the climate control system (CCS) in electric vehicles by 50%. Experts currently estimate that the CCS generally consumes 14 to 18% of a standard electric vehicle’s battery capacity. The EU prototype called XERIC CCS could cut this in half by combining a liquid desiccant cycle to counter humidity and a traditional vapor compression cycle to control temperature. But while this is definitely a huge step in making electric cars more viable for mass use, China is simply way ahead of the game in terms of manufacturing power and level of development.
Huge advancements in electric car manufacturing is not the only way in which China is politically, technologically, and culturally rising in the west. The current prevalence of Chinese culture can be seen in a variety of modern entertainment and media outlets. In the media for example, Foreign Policy reports the Chinese paper Qiao Bao, which is owned by American company Rhythm Media Group, is available in at least 15 major US cities and reports on pro-Beijing news. In entertainment, shows like the animation series Avatar is one of the most popular cartoons on Netflix today, and it’s almost entirely based on Chinese history and mythology. Expatbets, an online gaming portal focuses on games based on Chinese culture including Dragon Shrine, Emperor of the Sea, and Dragon Dance. The media and entertainment industry is a good indication of how the global interest and awareness of Chinese culture is growing. More than symbolic, China’s burgeoning cultural dominance is also a clear representation of the country’s economic hold on the world. And if Made in China 2025 turns out to be a success, we can expect more Chinese products to hit our shores.