Innovation in China – driving towards smart electric cars
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Innovation in China – driving towards smart electric cars

By actively adapting digital solutions China will soon be one of the leading players in the smart electric vehicle space.

With our fast-paced lives and extreme focus on safety and smart solutions, smart electric vehicles (EV) seem a natural direction of development within the car industry. Sensing this trend, China has been recently supporting and broadly applying smart solutions in the automotive field.

New trend in the car industry

"New-energy and smart vehicles are the new big trend of the automotive industry," says Bin Li, the founder, chairman and CEO of NIO, a Chinese EV manufacturer, during the 9th Credit Suisse China Investment Conference held in November in Shenzhen. According to his forecast, smart EVs will become the mainstay of the auto industry within 10 years and Chinese brands could gain an adequate share in this market. "It took 20 years for smartphones to replace mobile phones, which replaced landline phones in the first place. I can imagine that in another 10 years, the only word we'll use when we talk about cars would probably be 'Smart EV'" says Li.

What challenges do EVs face?

Bin Li, founder, chairman & CEO of NIO

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Demand soars as government invests in electric vehicles

NIO, positioned as a high-end smart vehicle brand, launched its first product, a 7-seat electric SUV, in June 2018 and by the end of October delivered over 5,000 units. What is more, Daniel Kirchert, president and co-founder of electric car startup BYTON, identified China as the world's best country for the development of self-driving vehicles, given its culture of innovation, AI development, government support, and financing. The Chinese government fosters many technology projects, including even such innovations as internet hospitals. "I believe the recent licensing of internet hospitals was possible mainly thanks to the government's supportive policies," said Serena Shao, Head of China Healthcare Research at Credit Suisse. Similar policies also apply to other industry sectors, including the auto industry.

Obstacles to overcome

However, despite the favorable environment, there are two main challenges EV producers have to face: charging and marketing. Charging must be fast and easy and EVs need to be able to drive long distances. As for marketing, the public must become aware of the advantages of EVs over their gasoline counterparts. Today, most people simply default to traditional cars.

I can imagine that in another 10 years, the only word we'll use when we talk about cars would probably be 'Smart EV'.

Bin Li, founder, chairman & CEO of NIO

Because of the transitions it has been undergoing, China seems destined for a rapid remodeling in many fields.

Technology will likely continue to support development in China, further consolidating its position as a self-propelled machine of change which other countries could follow.