The Chinese market for zero-emission heavy-duty vehicles (ZE-HDV) has grown rapidly in the last decade, from nearly no sales to more than 200,000 vehicles in 2016. However, total sales decreased over the years due to the phaseout of incentives for electric trucks and buses. In the last five years, the market for ZE-HDV has been increasingly dominated by zero-emission buses, the majority of which are battery-powered, with their share rising to 80%.
Even with incentives at only 40% of 2018’s levels, the market recovered and returned to levels close to those of 2018. This is especially significant with regards to manufacturer dominance: the market shares of the top 10 ZE-truck and ZE-bus manufacturers are nearing those of their diesel equivalents and are roughly 70% and 85%, respectively. This suggests that the top firms are gaining an advantage through economies of scale as the ZE-HDV market in China consolidates.
Current producers of diesel HDVs are losing ground in this market. Most notably, FAW, the biggest diesel truck producer in China, has not adopted the switch to ZE-HDVs quickly and has a small market share. To become the market leader in ZE-HDVs by 2030, FAW has announced investments totaling more than 30 billion yuan through 2025.
Dongfeng Motor overtook FAW in the emerging market in 2021 by producing the most, with 5,500 ZE trucks. Dongfeng Motor stated in 2018 that it will launch 20 electric vehicles by 2022—ranging from light-duty delivery vans to long-haul tractors—as part of an ambitious strategic plan for electrification.
7 of the top 10 ZE-HDV manufacturers focused primarily on buses in 2021, in a pattern similar to their diesel output. These companies include King Long, Geely, and Ankai, all of which made the top 10 list this year. King Long has decades of experience with alternative energy powertrains, having unveiled the first hybrid coach using a lead acid battery in 2001. Geely has a long-standing reputation in China as a manufacturer of electric passenger cars, and it entered the ZE-HDV market in 2016. Geely has concentrated its efforts on developing methane engines for long-haul tractor-trailers in addition to electric vehicles and buses.
Overall, the Chinese ZE-HDV market is seeing a significant consolidation. It remains to be seen how this consolidation will play out in the coming years and who will come out on top.
Source: Zero-emission bus and truck market in China: A 2021 update | The ICCT
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