Tags: china ev manufacturers bankruptcy
OPINION

China Throwing Away Fields of Electric Cars, Bicycles

China Throwing Away Fields of Electric Cars, Bicycles
William Li, co-founder and CEO of Chinese EV manufacturer Nio, at the 20th Shanghai International Automobile Industry Exhibition in Shanghai on April 19, 2023. (Hector Retamal/Getty Images)

Lauren Fix By Wednesday, 26 July 2023 07:46 AM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

Here’s a dirty secret that few are discussing. Thousands of electric vehicles are being abandoned in fields and warehouses in China, as 90% of Chinese EV makers face bankruptcy. China may seem like the leader of the EV industry, but behind the scenes, there is a massive crisis unfolding.

We explore the dire financial situation facing 90% of Chinese EV makers, pushing them perilously close to bankruptcy. The abandoned EV graveyard reflects the urgency and gravity of the situation. In recent years, China emerged as a dominant force in the EV market, boldly aiming to revolutionize transportation towards a sustainable future.

However, our investigation reveals a harsh truth — the dream has turned into a nightmare for the majority of Chinese EV manufacturers. With alarming statistics depicting a staggering 90% of these companies teetering on the edge of financial collapse, it becomes evident that the consequences extend far beyond mere economic setbacks.

What pushed these manufacturers to the brink? Fierce competition, mismanagement, gaming the system and a weaker-than-anticipated demand.

What does it mean for the future of electric vehicles in China and the world?

Let’s take a look at the facts. Explore the history and the challenges of China’s EV market, and this reveals why nearly all of China's EV makers are facing bankruptcy. The government, the consumers, and the technology are shaping this industry and this is basic business.

A recent video showcases enormous fields filled with thousands of abandoned Chinese electric cars. This is not fake footage — this is current drone footage. Some of these EVs appear to be the Geely Kandi K10 EV, Neta V, and BYD e3 models. These cars are seen parked in one of the districts of Hangzhou, the capital of the Zhejiang Province in eastern China.

The scene appears eerie as the white paint on the cars is tainted by layers of dust and tires partly covered by encroaching grass. Inside, they appear brand-spanking new, as the plastic seat wraps are untouched and the screens still shining.

They all have registration plates. YouTuber Winston Sterzel, who re-shared the drone footage, alleges that Chinese EV makers register the cars and claim to have sold them to show numbers and obtain subsidies from the government.

One caption, translated to English, reads “BYD inventory flooded, 600 cars waiting to be processed.” In a related video, a registration form reveals the size of the plot where the surplus inventory is left to rust in Hangzhou. The field is over 15,000 square meters in size, and the nature of the property is “commercial business.”

The Atlantic reported similar incidents in 2018 in Shanghai, the country’s largest city and a global financial hub, but with regard to bicycles. The publication said that after bike sharing reached its peak in 2017 in China, supply vastly outpaced demand. The result was mountain-sized heaps of brightly colored surplus bicycles.

The abandoned cars may have undergone a similar fate. They reportedly belong to a failed car-sharing service called Microcity, which had thousands of Kandi 11 models, as documented by the Chinese state-owned newspaper People's Daily. Multiple car-rental businesses failed during the same period in China, which could explain the existence of these car cemeteries.

Also, note that some of the drone footage is over two years old, while some local reports of cars lying abandoned are from 2019. It's unclear what the current state of the EV graveyard is, and if any action was ever taken to bring these vehicles back to life.

As per reports by the Chinese media, the unused electric cars were seen parked alongside a river on the outskirts of Hangzhou. All the cars belong to an electric car sharing company called Microcity. The company claimed to the Chinese media that the cars are still in use. But when the media tried to book a ride through the company’s official app, no cars were available for rental in the vicinity.

A villager in the region was interviewed in the report, claiming that the company has been paying him 30,000 plus yuan (around $4,100) per year since last July for the parking area.

But there is more, China’s new EV subsidies might not be enough to bolster slowing growth. One of the few detailed stimulus plans Beijing has announced this year extends tax breaks for electric car purchases. However, tax breaks don’t resolve the fundamental reason why people in China haven’t bought more electric cars: mileage concerns. More than 70% of total public fast chargers are located in just 10 provinces. That’s only about a third of the country.

Chinese authorities have supported the growth of the domestic new energy vehicle market over the last decade in a bid to become a global player in the auto industry. China’s goal is to own the auto industry.

As for the video footage, I’m curious what percentage of already-sold vehicles are abandoned in other countries. This is important information we need to know. I’m also curious whether the abandoned vehicles are actually functional, or whether some scam was involved. We may never know.

Video Link: https://youtu.be/wyiRVo_U8iQ

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Lauren Fix, The Car Coach is a nationally recognized automotive expert, media guest, journalist, author, keynote speaker and television host. A trusted car expert, Lauren provides an insider’s perspective on a wide range of automotive topics and safety issues for both the auto industry and consumers. Her analysis is honest and straightforward.

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LaurenFix
Chinese electric vehicle manufacturers are abandoning thousands of EVs as 90% face bankruptcy.
china ev manufacturers bankruptcy
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2023-46-26
Wednesday, 26 July 2023 07:46 AM
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