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by Julia Pyper
April 18, 2019

The 2019 Shanghai Auto Show is taking place this week, and it's shaping up to be a race over who will own the future of electric driving in the world's largest automobile market.

Global automakers are investing tens of millions of dollars to play in China’s rapidly expanding EV market. According to a Reuters analysis, automakers are investing $135 billion to develop EVs and EV batteries in China over the next five to 10 years.

The Volkswagen/Audi/Porsche alliance is pouring $45.5 billion in the Chinese EV market, the largest amount of any automaker, as we noted in a previous Electric Avenue column. Nissan, General Motors, BMW and others are also investing in China, and made their presence known this week by putting their EVs on display at Auto Shanghai. But big global auto brands don't tell the whole story. One of the most fascinating elements of China’s EV market is its own enormous collection of domestic EV-makers.

Domestic manufacturing requirements and other policy support mechanisms have given rise to a multitude of Chinese EV manufacturers, none of which are household names in America. In 2018, the production of new energy vehicles in China totaled 1,270,000 units, while the sale of new energy vehicles in China totaled 1,256,000 units — with 96 percent of sales coming from domestic producers.

There are a lot of busy automakers in China building and selling a lot of electric cars, as some global brands make their first foray into EVs.

As a follow-up to the previous two Electric Avenue columns — one that offers a snapshot of China’s EV market and another that surveys China’s EV charging infrastructure landscape — this week’s story will look at what's driving the expansion of China’s domestic EV maker landscape.