Still, such a low-priced EV would likely challenge the dominance of China-based EV makers BYD and Kandi. And the effort would likely be lucrative, given that it has been predicted that China will become the world's largest EV market by the end of the decade. In fact, the publication EV Sales said earlier this year that as many as 300,000 EVs will be sold in China in 2016 (by comparison, Americans bought about 100,000 EVs and plug-in hybrids combined through the first 10 months of the year). BYD is expected to sell 75,000 Tang SUV units this year.
With such growth expectations in mind, automakers are focusing on China for potential EV development. Earlier this year, Volkswagen Group said it signed a memorandum of understanding with China's Jianghuai Automobile (JAC) for plug-in vehicle production. Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler also stated its goal to broaden plug-in vehicle sales in China.
Renault appears to be trying to make an early mark in China. Dongfeng Renault Automobile Co., the Chinese joint venture between Renault and Donfeng, is looking to start testing a self-driving electric vehicle this month. Dongfeng Renault will use a 1.5-mile stretch of road in Beijing's Caidian district for testing purposes.