The Chinese have access to a cheap electric vehicle and it can cost well below 3.000 USD. For the Chinese it is not an option to buy a vehicle many times their yearly income, as would be the case if they would buy a GM Volt or a Nissan Leaf. Their locally manufactured EVs are within their budget and are in popular demand.
Which leads to wonder, can those cheap EVs help the West as well? Provided those cheap EVs meet the local safety standards, they might. The main difference here with the Chinese situation, we compare the EV with how we use a conventional car. While the Chinese clearly improve their mobility, we tend to think we get less value for a higher price tag.
China's Commuters Charging to Cheap 'Knockoff' Electric Cars
China’s car-crazy commuters are increasingly opting for an economical alternative to big-name, high-priced auto brands. Shanzhai (“knockoff”) electric cars charge up overnight, can be driven over 100 km per day, and cost well under $3,000.Highways and biways in China’s big cities are flush with international auto brands like Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Buick – a reflection of Chinese society’s upward mobility. Look beyond Beijing, Shanghai and other urban economic engines and you’ll find a different kind of mobility characterized by electric bicycles and tricycles. Don’t look now, but China’s boondocks are, like The Jefferson’s, “movin’ on up.”