Economy

China EV sales slow in January-February as competition intensifies

A view shows traffic during evening rush hour at the central business district (CBD) in Beijing, China, January 15, 2021. Picture taken January 15, 2021. REUTERS/Tingshu Wang/File photo  

(Corrects the first paragraph to remove reference to the same period a year earlier)

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s pure electric vehicle sales slowed in January-February from a year earlier, industry data showed on Friday, as competition intensified with market leader BYD (SZ:002594) heading a deeper round of price cuts.

Sales of battery-powered EVs rose 18.2%, cooling from 20.8% for all of 2023, showed data from the China Passenger Car Association. That partially mirrored waning consumer interest as blistering cold snaps slowed the performance of EV batteries.

Sales of new energy vehicles (NEVs) which includes vehicles powered by other emerging technologies such as plug-in petrol-electric hybrids, jumped 37.5% in the first two months, from 36.2% in 2023.

That figure compared with the overall passenger car market’s 16.3% growth in January-February and reflected a 33.5% NEV penetration rate versus 28.3% in the same period of 2023.

Weakness in EV recharging and driving range due to rain, snow and ice “temporarily weighed on consumer buying confidence,” the association said in a statement.

The shifted timing of China’s Lunar New Year holiday results in swings in monthly data over the first two months of the year. The holiday fell in February this year and lasted eight days, whereas it fell in January last year and lasted seven days.

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