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China Electric Vehicle Sales to Fall Short of Target, BNEF Says

China’s electric vehicle sales probably will fall short of the government’s target because the vehicles are costly and lack charging infrastructure, Bloomberg New Energy Finance said in a research note.

Sales in China’s market totaled about 13,000 vehicles from 2009 to 2011, and figures for 2012 are “not expected to be orders of magnitude higher,” the London-based researcher said in a statement released today.

The government aims to have 500,000 cumulative sales by 2015 and 5 million by 2020. Those targets were outlined in the New Energy Vehicle Industrial Plan for 2012 to 2020 released in July, part of an effort to cut pollution and help the Chinese auto industry catch up with foreign competitors, New Energy Finance said.

“China is making a big bet on electric vehicles, but it will need to bring in expertise and technology from foreign players to create competitive vehicles, and to deploy the full muscle of its auto industry in order to produce vehicles the public trusts,” said Michael Liebreich, chief executive officer of New Energy Finance.

“If it does this, we could well see sales in 2020 creeping closer to the target and China playing a leading international role,” he said. “But the chances of China going it alone in electric vehicle, and as a result leapfrogging the world’s auto majors, are looking very slim.”

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