Chinese e-vehicle makers look to expand across world

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Visitors experience a BYD Atto 3 during the press day of the 100th Brussels Motor Show in Brussels, Belgium, Jan. 13, 2023. [Photo/Xinhua]

Chinese electric vehicle makers are increasing their foray into overseas markets as many countries shift towards electrification.

Hundreds of Neta U and Neta V models have arrived in Jordan as of last week, according to their maker Hozon. The Western Asian country is the latest overseas market for the Chinese startup.

"Fuel is expensive in Jordan so there is a big potential for new energy vehicles," a Hozon spokesperson said.

Statistics show that the country imported 2,036 EVs in January, up 72 percent year-on-year. Last year, total EV imports reached 16,990 units.

Hozon launched its overseas campaign in August 2022, making Thailand its first international market.

It now has three models available in the Middle East, Southeast Asia and Europe.

Israel is another major destination in the Middle East for Chinese electric cars.

According to statistics from the Israel Vehicle Importers Association, China became Israel's largest supplier of imported passenger cars in January, with 7,753 units sold in the month, up from only 685 last year.

With almost 3,000 units sold in Israel in January, BYD's electric model Atto 3, which only began deliveries in Israel in October, is now the best-selling EV in the country.

In 2022, the accolade went to Geometry C from Chinese carmaker Geely. The electric model's sales totaled 5,381 units, ahead of the United States' EV maker Tesla's Model 3, which sold 2,959 units.

In January, Voyah, a premium brand of State-owned Dongfeng, introduced its electric SUV in Israel.

The model has a range of up to 500 kilometers and can charge from 20 to 80 percent in just 45 minutes.

"In the future, we will bring more green and smart cars to the Israeli people," Voyah CEO Lu Fang said in a video address.

According to Israeli importers, advanced technologies, higher availability and better configurations are three main reasons for the success of Chinese EVs in the Israeli market.

BYD and Geely are also eyeing the potential for expanding into Panama. The two Chinese carmakers showcased their models at an e-mobility expo held in late February, Xinhua News Agency reported.

EVs are poised to see a boom this year in the Central American country, thanks to a new Electric Mobility Law enacted in April last year.

The law encourages government agencies and companies to make the move from fossil fuel-burning vehicles to electric ones, according to German Mendez, BYD's commercial manager in Panama.

"Fortunately, Panama has good energy. It has the electricity infrastructure to be able to support the demand, which of course has to keep growing," he said, noting Panama already has more than 200 charging stations for EVs.

BYD expects its market share to grow 40 to 50 percent in 2023, after expanding its business over the last two years, Mendez said.

Moises Soto, Geely's commercial manager in Panama, said the new law has given the EV sector a notable boost. "The Electric Mobility Law has helped us a lot to walk through doors that we thought were closed to us," Soto said.

Geely is set to present its first electric car in Panama in June, the manager said.

On Thursday, a batch of buses rolled off Yutong's assembly line in Zhengzhou, Henan province.

They are soon to be shipped to Tashkent, capital of Uzbekistan, as part of the city's order for 800 new energy buses from the Chinese bus maker.

Yutong said the order, which is composed of 300 electric buses and 500 compressed natural gas ones, is the largest of its kind from Uzbekistan for Chinese buses.

The vehicles will be used to improve public transport in Tashkent and all of them will be delivered this year, said the bus maker.

Li Haifeng, a senior executive for Yutong's operations in the Commonwealth of Independent States, said Tashkent purchased 20 of Yutong's new energy buses in early 2022 after a two-year comparison of models from major bus makers around the world.

The fleet, which has been in operation in Tashkent for a year, has won the approval of passengers and the bus company thanks to its safe, green and cost-efficient operation.

Yutong said its global accumulative exports stand at around 86,000 buses, of which 68,000 were sold in countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative.

Its new energy buses have been operating in more than 30 countries and regions. In countries of Uzbekistan, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, Yutong is either the only or the largest new energy bus provider.

NEV exports from China are expected to reach 800,000 units this year, up from 679,000 units in 2022. The increase will contribute to the country's overall vehicle exports, said Zhang Yongwei, vice-president of China EV 100, an automotive think tank.

Earlier this year, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers estimated that total vehicle exports from China may grow at least 20 percent year-on-year to 3.73 million units.

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