Chinese EV Makers Storm German Auto Showcase

Sep. 12, 2023

Largest ever delegation of Chinese companies descend on Munich auto expo

Chinese vehicles – more specifically Chinese electric cars – stole the show at the 2023 IAA Mobility exhibition held in Munich last week.

About 50 Chinese companies traveled to the expo, which is typically a showcase for German industrial prowess and the future of its all-important automotive sector. According to Chinese state media, it was the largest-ever delegation of Chinese companies to attend a global car expo anywhere.

And in a move of exquisite irony, China also took its largest EV conference, the so-called ‘World New Energy Vehicle Congress’, to the sprawling Munich Exhibition Grounds earlier this year.

The Adamas Intelligence EV Battery Capacity and Battery Metals Tracker point to a large and growing share for Chinese EV makers in Europe. In June of this year, 20% of the MWhs delivered to EV buyers in Europe, including hybrids, were contained in China-made EVs and packs. In absolute numbers, the battery power exported to Europe from China grew more than 70% year-on-year.

That a good portion of those sales was Tesla Model Ys and 3s made in the Texas-based company’s Shanghai factory would only provide cold comfort to European automakers, which have been spinning their wheels in the ICE to EV race.

XPeng: Perhaps the darkest moment for German automakers

Rubbing it in was Brian Gu, CEO of Chinese upstart XPeng, who told Reuters on the sidelines of IAA: “It is perhaps the darkest moment for German automakers, but I also feel their strongest determination ever to change”.

Production of XPeng’s first ever electric car, the G3, only kicked off in November 2018. However, the company has since struck an extensive agreement with Volkswagen that underpinned the unveiling of the 86-year-old German company’s new ID.8 three-row, seven-seater electric SUV in Munich last week.

Built on the XPeng G9 platform, the ID.8 also features other technologies developed by the Chinese company, including its battery chassis architecture and a semi-autonomous driving system, called the XNGP, which XPeng claims will soon rival Tesla’s Autopilot.

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