Chinese roads will come to rely on the mixing of high proportions of motorcycles and other small EVs to overcome the congestion
One of the many interesting trends evident at Auto China in Beijing last week was the ongoing development of vehicles offering dual modes of transport – cars containing another transportation device of some sort. China is facing all the same pollution and congestion problems as the rest of the world, but on a much greater scale. For Chinese consumers it seems that having a primary vehicle contain a smaller electric “Transportation Appliance” offers a more comprehensive transportation solution.
The transportation gap
As car ownership grows rapidly in China, India, Russia, South America and Asia in general, congestion grows too and parking in city centers becomes prohibitively expensive. Getting from A to B often involves mixing transportation modes, and a car will increasingly only get you part of the way to your destination in many countries in the world – particularly in China where the number of electric two-wheelers on the street is already overwhelming, and the mainstay of China’s personal transportation spectrum.
Consider this! In 2009 Chinese consumers purchased 13.6 million cars to become the world’s largest automobile market. China had a national carpark of electric two-wheelers of 120 million in 2010 and electric scooters have been available for only the last seven or eight years, indicating sales averaging at least 15 million a year during that period.
That means the electric scooter has been the most prolific form of motorized personal transport in China by a fair margin for several years. It’s hence not hard to see why Chinese manufacturers might be wanting to create a bridge between two and four-wheeled transport. Because two-wheeled transport is more popular than four-wheeled right now, two-wheelers are cheaper to run and buy, and they’re a perfect adjunct to a car, or for want of an apt comparison, the “Mothership.”
A larger vehicle, particularly an electric vehicle or hybrid electric vehicle with large capacity battery, can ensure your miniature EV is charged and ready to go when called upon.
China will have 150 million electric bikes on the road by 2015. Interestingly, the numbers suggest that electric bike sales in China are on the wane – the forecasts add 30 million e-bikes over the five years from 2010 to 2015.
I think this grossly underestimates the numbers of electric two-wheelers currently being sold.
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