Following its long tradition of fighting against electrification, the global auto industry is resisting China’s latest round of pro-EV mandates.
Trade groups representing all the major US, European, Japanese and Korean automakers (except Tesla, of course) have sent a letter to China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology asking for the country’s proposed EV sales mandate to be watered down.
The new rules would force automakers to make zero-emission vehicles 8% of their sales in the country in 2018, increasing to 12% by 2020. As Green Car Reports puts it, China’s pro-EV measures are “far more draconian and prescriptive than anything California might imagine in its wildest dreams.”
Impossibly so, say the automakers: “The proposed rules’ ambitious enforcement date is not possible to meet, and if unchanged would lead to a widespread disruption of the product portfolio of most automakers operating in China,” their letter reads in part. “At a minimum, the mandate needs to be delayed a year and include additional flexibilities.”
The automakers also want to weaken the penalty system for companies that don’t meet the quotas, and to be awarded credits for plug-in hybrids in addition to pure electrics (unintended consequences of this policy have already been seen in China, where many buyers purchase plug-in SUVs with no intention of ever plugging them in).
There’s another aspect of the rules that the automakers don’t dig: Foreign firms do not receive the same subsidies for producing “new energy vehicles” as Chinese makers do.
China hand Michael Dunne, of Dunne Automotive consultants in Hong Kong, suggested to GCR that the foreign automakers’ discomfiture may all be part of the plan. Many observers believe that China sees electrification not only as a way to reduce pollution, but also to give it a leg up in a rapidly-changing global auto industry. He notes that the China Association of Automotive Manufacturers trade group is not a signatory to the letter.
“If certain global carmakers cannot or will not make the new energy vehicle quotas, demand could be met by the wave of up-and-coming Chinese electric-car makers,” says Dunne. “How long before rattled global automakers, more dependent than ever on China’s market, start learning a proper kow-tow?”
Source: Green Car Reports