IDTechEx's report on challenges of the world’s largest electric vehicle market

AdobeStock 234999125With China being the largest electric vehicle market in the world, some 29.66 million were produced in 2020, however, the market is no longer seeing the explosive growth of the past, said the IDTechEx report “Electric Two-wheelers 2021–2041”

In 2016, after growing at a rate of 24% CAGR since 2002, China’s electric two-wheeler market peaked at around 32 million. There are multiple factors at play, but perhaps the greatest is the rise of the passenger car, the ultimate mobility preference as consumer purchasing power has increased.

Another major cause is road safety. Since the market’s origins, China’s regulation has limited electric two-wheeler speeds, but in practice, this was not enforced. Demand for performance from riders resulted in it being common to illegally disconnect motor controllers, the device limiting two-wheeler speeds.

This allowed speeds of up to 40kmph with two-wheelers weighing over 70kg, all whilst being ridden and treated like a bicycle. The result was a massive wave of safety incidents and fatalities, causing many tier one cities in China to ban electric two-wheelers outright or in central locations.

In April 2019, China brought in a new standard for electric two-wheelers to both close loopholes compromising safety and transition away from lead-acid batteries. The new regulation brought in measures for motor controller tamper resistance, and two-wheelers not meeting the specification must now be registered as a motorcycle.

While the share of Li-ion batteries in two-wheelers was under 1% in 2010, in 2020 it was close to 20%. IDTechEx expects this to continue to at least 50% by 2025 as Li-ion production increases and costs fall.

The report further explores key technology trends, such as the transition away from lead-acid and the reliance on permanent magnet motors for all power classes. Market shares of companies are provided regionally, based on primary interviews with market leaders. 

IDTechEx Electric Vehicle Research

This research forms part of the broader electric vehicle and energy storage portfolio from IDTechEx, who track the adoption of electric vehicles, battery trends, and demand across land, sea and air, helping you navigate whatever may be ahead. 

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