As fuel vehicles gradually withdraw from the market, the world is chasing electric vehicles but the biggest risk of electric vehicles is not mileage anxiety, but fire. China, which is fastest in developing electric vehicles, saw the problem first. In 2021, the Chinese government reported at least 3,000 new energy vehicle fires and their fire risk is generally higher than that of traditional gasoline vehicles.
The Chinese government has strongly supported the electric vehicle industry. A quarter of all new cars in China this year are pure electric vehicles or plug-in hybrids. Electric vehicle sales in China are expected to exceed the rest of the world combined this year. Most of China's electric vehicles come from local brands, and the New York Times reports that more than 300 Chinese companies make electric vehicles, ranging from low-priced items under $5,000 to high-end models that compete with Tesla and German automakers.
China's electric vehicle sales will reach 6 million units this year. About 80% of all electric vehicles sold in China are produced by domestic automakers. In terms of sales in August, Tesla Model Y ranks first, followed by SAIC-GM Wuling's cheap brand Hongguang MINIEV, and the next five are BYD.
Globally, half of the top 10 best-selling electric vehicle brands are Chinese brands, led by BYD, whose market share is second only to Tesla, and BYD has also begun to sell electric vehicles overseas. China is also developing the battery business. The largest battery manufacturers in China are CATL and BYD.
China's electric vehicle sales large, fires frequent
According to a report by S&P Global Ratings, CNBC pointed out that the insurance premiums of new energy vehicles such as electric vehicles in China are about 20% higher than those of similar traditional fuel vehicles. Generally, auto insurance premiums are based on past claim records. Higher or more frequent claims will increase premiums. The reasons for the higher cost of electric vehicle insurance include repair and replacement parts, which are also more expensive than non-electronic parts. Electric vehicle replacement parts are 2.7% more expensive than gasoline-powered vehicle parts, according to CCC Intelligent Solutions, a data provider for the automotive, collision repair, and insurance industries.
Replacing an EV battery costs about $5,000 to $15,000, according to GreenCars, a website that provides tools and resources for EV shoppers. Repairing electric vehicles requires training and maintenance costs may also be higher than ordinary gasoline vehicles.
Although it is not clear what the specific accident risk is, fire is definitely a big worry. An International Energy Agency (IEA) report estimates that more than 6 million electric vehicles will be on the road in China in 2021, accounting for more than one-third of the global BEV and PHEV fleet. The Chinese government reported an average of seven electric vehicle fires a day in the first half of the year. Although the Tesla China fire has caused discussion, the ranking of electric vehicle brand fires by Chinese media from 2020 to 2022 is related to sales, most of which are BYD, the top four are also Chinese companies, and Tesla ranks fifth.
Electric vehicles catch fire in summer and winter, but for different reasons, the Beijing Institute of Technology stated. More than 60% of the reported fires in China occurred from May to September. In summer, batteries overheated and the fire was caused by the high ambient temperature. In winter, most of the problems occurred when preheating the battery, which caused the electric vehicle to overheat when charging. China recorded 640 electric vehicle fire accidents in just the first quarter. Beijing Institute of Technology said that with the popularity of low-cost electric vehicles, fires will be a dangerous factor that cannot be underestimated for electric vehicles.