Electric vehicle platform strategies by Chinese automakers: what's going on on EV arena in China?

Type de publication:

Conference Paper


Gerpisa colloquium, Paris (2017)


automotive platforms; electric vehicles; Chinese automakers.


China became the world’s leading automotive market in 2009. In 2015 surpassed the U.S. to become the world’s biggest market for electric vehicles (EVs), comprising Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) and Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs). Driven by the government subsidies – by central government, provinces and some cities – the electric vehicles market experienced a boom in last years, although the downturn in this market in early 2017. Adopted in 2009 by the Chinese Central Government, the “New Energy Vehicle (NEV)” policy highly stimulates both the well-established automakers and start-ups in that market. In these scenario, many Chinese automakers embraced the EV production as their top priority. As other automakers around the world, the Chinese automakers adopted or are adopting platform strategies for their EVs. However, in contrast with some western (BMW, Daimler, VW) and Japanese (Nissan) automakers, which are developing/consolidating their dedicated EV platforms, i.e., platforms developed exclusively for their EVs, in the case of Chinese automakers they are basing their EVs on their traditional petrol powered vehicles (or ICEVs - Internal Combustion Engine Vehicles), in an Adapted EV Platform approach, which is more usual as a start market strategy, when generally reduce costs is the priority. Also, differently from some leading automakers worldwide, most of the Chinese automakers are developing their EV models as identical – or with some slightly modifications – of their ICEVs traditional models. Once again, the main goal is cut down the costs, making the vehicles more affordable to Chinese market. Besides the traditional automakers, however, stimulated by the “electric boom” in that market, several newcomers are venturing in this market, launching or planning to launch new EVs models in dedicated electric platforms. The aim of this article is to analyze the EV platform and model design strategies adopting by the leading automakers and newcomers in China. This study is based on information and data provided by automaker's documents and by the specialized automotive press and magazines releases, including some based on China.

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