2017 saw the passing of a notable milestone as sales of electric vehicles worldwide topped one million, bringing the total amount of electric vehicles in circulation to over three million. The most notable trend in these sales figures, however, was the rocketing demand among Chinese motorists, with nearly 50% of the market in China while Europe accounted for 26%. This is attributable, in part, to the strong push made by the Chinese government to support the industry which has pushed automakers in the country to favor electric vehicles when faced with a strict New Energy Vehicle credit system that is aimed to boost EV sales.

Now the country’s automakers are showing signs of adopting new autonomous technologies in advance of a strong push in this sector as well. According to a report from a convention hosted by the Consumer Electronics Association, the government has taken strong steps to accelerate growth in the field of autonomous vehicles in coming years as well. The vehicles, while ranging in technological advancement, show a striking development curve that suggests Chinese automakers have not been slowed down by the reticence that many US automakers have shown in the months following Uber’s tragic accident. Furthermore, the development of AVs will benefit from the hefty subsidies the Chinese government provides for the purchase of EVs as most coming AV models will also employ electric drivetrains, thereby further reducing the cost of acquisition.

As Google has been a strong force in the development of AV systems in the US, China’s IT giant, Baidu, has stepped into a similar role and secured US companies such as Ford and Microsoft as early partners, signaling an effort to match Google in their development path and suggesting a very competitive market over the coming years.

Surging EV sales in China 

Read more about the New Energy Vehicle credit system 

Yahoo Finance reports from the CES Asia trade show 

 

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