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Registration of new energy buses and trucks in China suffers first decline in 23 months

Commercial Vehicles

March 2023

Yvonne Zhang

Research Associate

Yvonne joined Interact Analysis as a Research Associate to assist the research team with organizing, interpreting findings, and enhancing product outputs. She has a master's degree in Finance and has research experience in the Industrial Automation sector after her studies in the United States.

Following record high sales in December 2022 (see details here), registrations of new energy commercial vehicles slumped to 6,389 units in January 2023, down by 19% from the same period last year. This marks the first year-on-year decline since February 2021.

Due to multiple negative factors such as last-minute rush buying, cancellation of national new energy vehicle subsidies, and the Spring Festival holiday, new energy trucks and buses saw year-on-year declines of 24% and 15% respectively. From a powertrain perspective, battery electric vehicles – the predominant powertrain – fell by 18% annually, while sales of hybrid buses and trucks were down by 46% year-on-year to 202 units.

Registrations of new energy buses and trucks in China fell back in January 2023

Subsequently, powertrain components installed for new energy buses and trucks saw declines this month: battery systems were installed totaling 0.9 GWh, registering a decline of 35% compared with the same period last year, while drive motor installation dropped by 19% year-on-year to 6,402 units.

Some positive signs amid declining monthly sales

Fuel cell was the only powertrain type witnessing sales growth in January, with sales rising 150% year-on-year to 151 units. This was largely due to continuing subsidies for pilot projects. As a result, a total of 13,700 KW fuel cell systems were installed over the month in question, up by 21% from January 2022.

Hydrogen fuel cell sales in China continued to grow year-on-year in January 2023

As the new energy bus and truck market grows, an increasing number of vendors for both new energy vehicles and components are entering the market and invigorating market supply. Geely – the top OEM in terms of sales for 9 consecutive months – achieved 167% year-on-year growth with the sale of over 1,700 vehicles in January 2023. Furthermore, its bus registration sales increased 20 times compared with the same period of last year.

In the powertrain component segment, SANY and Vremt entered the top 10 list of battery vendors for the first time, ranking seventh and tenth respectively. Motor supplier Physis – with its light-duty trucks installation – entered the top 10 EV motor list for the first time, ranking tenth in January. Of 11 companies supplying fuel cell systems for buses and trucks in January, Zhongqin Taikang, HYPRIN and Toyota SinoHytec (joint venture between SinoHytec and Toyota Motor) were all new entrants and took places in the top 6.

For more information on the Chinese bus and truck market, please contact Yvonne Zhang at Interact Analysis.

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