Tesla's Chinese rival Weilai is entering the Norwegian market and plans to export its smart electric vehicles to the Nordic country in September. Weilai plans to sell electric es8 SUVs in Norway this year and et7 luxury electric vehicles with a driving range of nearly 1000 km next year.
Before that, Xiaopeng, another Chinese competitor of Tesla, had delivered more than 100 G3 smart SUVs to Norwegian individual customers at the end of December 2020. Obviously, Norway is rapidly becoming a key export market for Chinese electric vehicle start-ups.
Figure 1: Weilai plans to sell its electric es8 SUV in Norway later this year
There are two main driving factors for Chinese EV start-ups to enter the Norwegian market
1. The penetration rate of electric vehicles is the highest in the world
The penetration rate of electric vehicles in Norway is the highest in the world, and pure electric vehicles account for more than 54% of the total sales of new cars. In 2020, Norway sold more than 140000 new passenger cars, of which 76789 are pure electric vehicles.
In China, although the market penetration rate of electric vehicles was 6% last year, the annual sales volume of electric vehicles reached 1.17 million due to the much larger market size than that of Norway. Last year, about 19.3 million cars were sold in China.
2. Introduce incentive measures to encourage purchasing
Figure 2: Xiao Peng shows off his car design at the Shanghai auto show in April
In Norway, the purchase of pure electric vehicles does not need to pay purchase tax and import tax. Buyers can also be exempted from 25% VAT, and electric vehicles can save users at least 50% of the toll.
Although the Norwegian government has decided to keep the incentive measures for zero emission vehicles until the end of 2021, it plans to revise the incentive measures and adjust them according to the market development.
Best selling electric vehicle in Norway
Figure 3: Audi A6 e-tron concept electric car
Audi's e-tron SUV was the best-selling model in Norway last year, with 9227 vehicles sold. Tesla's model 3 came in second with 7770 vehicles, followed by Volkswagen id.3 with 7754. In fourth and fifth place were Nissan leaf and Volkswagen EGOLF, with sales of 5221 and 5068 vehicles respectively.
Prospects of electric vehicles in China
Weilai and Xiaopeng will face fierce competition in Norway. As latecomers, their success depends on whether customers accept their technology and product pricing. In China, the two start-ups and ideal cars are known as Tesla's challengers. In March, the companies delivered 17259 vehicles, less than half of Tesla's 35478 sales.
Xiaopeng recently announced plans to equip its P7 all electric car with cheaper batteries to attract price sensitive customers. From this month, P7 will provide fast charging lithium iron phosphate batteries, not limited to the lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide batteries currently in use. The company's upcoming P5 model will be equipped with lidar sensors, making it one of the first vehicles to use the technology. Laser radar is the key technology of autopilot.
Figure 4: Geely's electric car brand zeekr's electric cars on display at Shanghai Auto Show
In addition to these start-ups, it is widely expected that more Chinese enterprises will soon expand to Europe, including Geely. Geely, one of China's largest automakers and the parent company of Volvo, launched its new electric car brand zeekr last month. Geely has established partnerships with companies such as Baidu and Foxconn to produce smart electric vehicles and help them become a global leader in the automotive industry（ (small)