Chinese electric cars: why their mass arrival in Europe is a problem

While electric car sales are stagnant in Europe, Chinese manufacturers are increasingly present. And that can cause a lot of problems.

The BYD Han and Atto 3 in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris

Nio, Xpeng or even BYD and MG. Names that were still totally unknown a few years ago and are still increasingly spoken in Europe. Because it is a fact, Chinese manufacturers are already very present in Europe, and they must continue to invade our roads. The image of low-end brands is gone, cars made in China are now desirable and this previously hidden mention is even an argument for some, like Aiways, which is launching its U6 on the Old Continent.

A real offensive

If most of them are still not sold in France, Chinese brands are slowly starting their invasion, while they were very numerous at the Paris Motor Show, which closed its doors yesterday. In addition, they are already marketed in several countries and, in particular, in Norway. And the least we can say is that they are a real success.

According to a report by the NGO Transport & Environment, Chinese manufacturers ” represent 5% of all electric vehicles (EVs) sold in the year ” in Europe. And that number could rise sharply, as the organization announces that ” could supply Europe with 9-18% of its EVs by 2025“.

According to GlobalData, by 2030, China will account for 60% of electric car deliveries worldwide. The country would be ten years ahead of the rest of the world, in particular thanks to its lithium battery production capacity estimated at more than 70% by 2030. At present, China monopolizes more than 56% of the lithium industry’s market share. of batteries and is expected to account for 25% of electric car sales worldwide by 2025.

Nio ET7 // Source: Nio

And that can cause serious problems. In fact, this explosion of Chinese brands here could harm European competitivenessand cause job losses, as a significant part of production is at risk of being relocated to the Middle Kingdom.

In addition, according to a study by Jato Dynamics, one in five electric cars sold in Europe is already assembled in China. And yet, just 18% of electric models sold here are from Chinese brands. In fact, many European manufacturers have transferred their production to Asia, such as Dacia or BMW. An alarming situation for T&E, which points out that “ the continent’s climate and jobs are at stake“.

Stagnant sales in Europe

But while Chinese brands are conquering the Old Continent, electric car sales continue to fall, while its market share dropped from 13% in the second half of 2021 to 11% in the same period in 2022. In France it is currently 12%, while in China it is 18%.

If the offer becomes more and more extensive, it will be necessary to deal with a reduction of the ecological bonus to 5,000 euros in 2023, even if this has been increased to 7,000 euros for the poorest families. While T&E sounds the alarm, the organization also proposes measures to boost sales and encourage the purchase of European brands.

Among them, the creation of the social lease from next year. This is precisely what the government is preparing, which wants to offer electric car rentals at 100 euros per month. This should be especially focused on French or European cars.


At the same time, consideration is being given to reserving access to the ecological bonus for vehicles assembled in France or Europe. A measure that would then deprive the MG 4, Dacia Spring and other Tesla Model 3 of this help, in favor of models made in the Old Continent.

This is also one of Transport & Environnement’s recommendations, which also asks that the smaller segments (urban and compact) also not be abandoned, in order to ensure access to the electric car for as many people as possible.

The problem of electric cars made in China

The problem with electric cars made in China is multiple. In fact, production is more polluting than in Europe, because of the massively used coal-fired power plants in the country, and workers’ rights are weaker than in Europe. Manufacturers are also forced to transport cars to Europe by boat, increasing pollution as well.

But Chinese manufacturers are also coming to Europe with their factories, such as Nio for the manufacture of its battery change stations, or CATL for the production of batteries. However, Chinese car manufacturers are slow to want to set up factories in Europe. So we wonder if Joe Biden is right to create American protectionism, more or less forcing manufacturers to settle in the United States to sell electric cars in the country.

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