VW, Mercedes-Benz see China as new EV hotbed

VW announces joint-venture agreement with China-based Jianghuai.

  • Image Credit: Jonathon Ramsey
Last year, electric-vehicle advocates in China could rightly celebrate after the country overtook the US in annual EV production. Now, two German automakers want a bigger role in that particular party. Specifically, VW and Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler AG say they'll step up their efforts to make and sell electric vehicles in the world's most populous country.

Volkswagen Group said this week that it signed a memorandum of understanding with China-based Jianghuai Automobile (JAC) to make battery-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles. The agreement marks JAC's first partnership with a non-China automaker. JAC has been making strides on the plug-in vehicle front, with its "new-energy" vehicle sales (through June) more than tripling from a year before, even though the company didn't disclose its actual sales numbers. The partnership is part of VW's effort to develop more than 30 battery-electric vehicle models by 2025. Those who want to find out more can read VW's press release here.

Meanwhile, Daimler AG's China chief Hubertus Troska said this week that it will broaden its inventory of plug-in vehicles in the country, though he didn't offer any details on model types, pricing, or starting sales dates, Reuters reports. Currently, Daimler sells one electric vehicle model in China through its Smart mini-car brand, and markets another though the Denza brand, which Daimler makes with BYD.

The Chinese government has set a goal to boost the fleetwide fuel economy of new cars by almost 30 percent by the end of the decade. To that end, the publication EV Sales predicted earlier this year that China's plug-in vehicle sales would top the 300,000-unit mark this year, and, naturally, that sector would be led by China-based automakers. Specifically, EV Sales said BYD will move about 75,000 units of its Tang electric vehicle, while the Kandi Panda would have sales of about 55,000 vehicles.

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