Chinese EV market nearing 2% penetration

The country represents nearly half of the global market for electrical vehicles - 43% in 2016

The number of passenger vehicles sold in China surged 68% in August compared to the same month last year, but the really compelling statistic is the number of electric vehicles that made up the proportion of the 55,000 units sold in the Asian country.

According to numbers published Sunday by Clean Technica, the plug-in-vehicle market grew in China to 1.8% of total passenger vehicles, which is a new record compared to last year's 1.5%. Sales are expected to grow even further by the end of the year to 2% and may even reach 2.5%, the website which reports on renewable energy trends, states. It notes that of all the EV models sold in China – 94% of which are domestic brands – small city cars were the most popular, with the EC-Series by BAIC International the best performer at over 6,700 deliveries in August.

In 2016 Chinese electrical vehicle makers represented 43% of the global EV market, or 873,000 units, overtaking the United States for the first time, according to a July report by McKinsey & Company. The report notes that not only did China up its share of the EV market by 3% compared to 2015, it also made gains on the supply side of EVs including components such as lithium-ion batteries and electric motors. "One important factor is that the Chinese government provides subsidies to the sector in an effort to reduce fuel imports, improve air quality, and foster local champions," McKinsey explained.

The Chinese government has announced that "new energy vehicles" (NEVs, which includes hybrids) should account for 8% of the passenger vehicle market by 2018, 10% by 2019 and 12% by 2020, according to EV Volumes.com.

A week ago the world's largest mining company BHP (ASX, NYSE: BHP) said 2017 will go down in history as the year when key changes took place in the electric car market, making them more accessible to customers and so boosting demand for commodities from copper to nickel.

BHP recently revealed plans to transform itself into the world’s biggest suppliers of nickel sulphate — a key component in lithium-ion batteries that power electric cars.