China’s Electric Vehicle and Lithium Battery Exports See Impressive Performance

The General Administration of Customs of China reported that the export of electric vehicles, lithium batteries, and solar cells reached 264.69 billion yuan ($38 billion) in the first quarter of 2023, a year-on-year increase of 66.9%. Of these, electric vehicle exports reached 64.75 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 122.3%, accounting for 43.9% of China’s total automotive exports.

Intense competition in the Chinese automotive market has pushed some companies to seek overseas markets. In 2022, China’s automotive exports reached 3.11 million units, surpassing Germany for the first time, with 679,000 new energy vehicles exported, up 1.2 times year-on-year, and accounting for 63% of global new energy vehicle sales, ranking first worldwide.

The average export price of pure electric passenger cars in China has risen from $0.08 million in 2018 to $21,200 in 2022, according to customs data. In March 2023, China exported 78,000 new energy vehicles, up 3.9 times year-on-year, while the first quarter of this year saw 248,000 new energy vehicles exported, a year-on-year increase of 1.1 times, according to the China Automotive Association.

In the first quarter of 2023, BYD exported 43,000 new energy vehicles, a year-on-year increase of 12.8 times, while Chery exported 172,000 new energy vehicles, up 1.5 times year-on-year. NETA V ranked second in the number of licenses for pure electric vehicles in Thailand as of February.

Europe and America’s high demand for lithium batteries and generous electric vehicle subsidies are making these markets the new incremental markets for power batteries. In the first quarter of this year, China’s lithium battery exports reached 109.79 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 94.3%.

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This follows last year’s explosive growth in China’s lithium battery exports. According to the General Administration of Customs of China, the export value of lithium-ion batteries in China reached 342.656 billion yuan in 2022, an 86.7% increase from 183.526 billion yuan in 2021. CATL, BYD, EVE Energy, SVOLT, Farasis Energy, Envision AESC, and Sunwoda, among other Chinese battery enterprises, have demonstrated their technological advantages and production capacity.

The future export of lithium batteries from China is expected to face several restrictions. Starting October 1st this year, the EU will implement a carbon tariff policy and gradually reduce the free quota of EU enterprises, which will increase the entry threshold for the EU market. Moreover, the new European Battery Regulation will rate the carbon footprint of power battery enterprises. This regulation could potentially impact the competitiveness of Chinese battery manufacturers.