In a long run, electric car would be definitely replace fossil fuel cars and also Chinese government is on the way to plan to ban the sale of the fossil fuel car entirely in future.
Actually I don’t care the full picture of this trends , but I do heard some complaining from one of my cousin about the electric car recently, so I will talk a little about the the reality about this industry I know.
There are two kinds of electric car customer
1.local brand electric car with official subsidy would be in the price range from 100,000 RMB($15,000)- 20,0000($30,000), the most expensive one is BYD, and the most popular one in Beijing is BAIC Motor. the average full charge driving capability is about 200KM, which practically can not be used across province. Also, the battery drain more faster in winter, so some driver would choose not to turn on AC to save battery energy.
Even though there are limitations I mentioned, electric car is still popular in Beijing, because of the total cost saving and traffic rule restriction immunity, which means all the fossil fuel cars would be forced to suspend to drive one day every week except the electric car.
2.The other is the luxury one, more than 70% Tesla sedan owners live in Beijing, ShangHai, GuangZhou, and the average cost for a Model S would be close to 1 million RMB ($150,000), you know, the average year income for resident in Beijing is about $11000 last year.
You can see Model S, even X every day on the road, and I think when Model 3 ships, there would be more on the street of Beijing.
Backing to the complaint from cousin, the big problem is the charging, Tesla kind of help their customer with this problem with supercharge (free before 2017), the local brand customer have to fight with the awful charging reality.
Unlike US, most Chinese people live in an apartment , not a house, which means they don’t got a garage , sometimes, they live on the 5th floor or higher, who have to dangle a long cable outside the building and plug into the car, it is risky and weird.
Figure: I screen grab this picture from this article , if you want to see the full picture, just check it out.
Some apartment got a garage, but in practicing, Property Management Company of your community and State Grid Company would stand in your way for any reason, for example, out of power capability to add charging pile, security problem, or simply ownership problem. In short, the lack of legislation to support it is the fundamental problem. there is no clear rule for it. So, currently, sometimes you have to bribe some decision maker in property management company to get things done.
Actually, the Tesla owner also complain the charging problem, many owner treat the super charge station as a free parking slot, and will park their car for a long time even the car is full charged, that’s probably one of the reason Tesla would charge some fee for the new Tesla owner after 2017.
The Car Depreciation rate is still pretty high for electric car, because the battery life and performance would drop dramatically after 3-5 years, Tesla is no exception here, I heard a sample, after three years, a Model S would drop to 1/3 of the original value. not to say the local brand.
So, even I am optimistic about the future, I would not own any of the electric car in the next five years, currently, fossil fuel cars is still a reasonable choice in China.