Electric Car

Western EV makers look to tech to compete in the world’s top EV market, China


China has been leading the global electric vehicle (EV) market for years, thanks to its large domestic demand, generous government subsidies, and well-established battery and electronics industry. However, the west is not giving up on the race to electrify the transport sector and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Europe reportedly surpassed China in terms of new EV registrations in 2020, driven by stricter emission regulations, higher consumer awareness, and more diverse and affordable models. The United States also saw a growth in EV sales, despite the Covid-19 pandemic and lower fuel prices. How are western countries and companies now competing with China in the EV market?

Global automakers such are using advanced tech such as driver-assist software to compete in the world’s largest EV market – China. ‘China’s domestic brands are leading the market in the development and implementation of advanced assisted driving systems, capitalizing on their early-entry advantages in the electric and intelligent vehicle sector‘, a recent report suggests.

BofA reportedly said it expects China to still be the world’s largest EV market in 2025, standing at 40%-45% market share.


One of the strategies is to invest more in research and development, innovation, and collaboration. Western automakers are trying to improve the performance, efficiency, and cost of their EVs by developing new technologies and designs, such as advanced batteries, smart and autonomous features, and sustainable materials. They are also partnering with other players in the EV ecosystem, such as battery suppliers, charging network operators, software developers, and regulators, to create synergies and overcome challenges.


Another strategy is to adapt to local market conditions and consumer preferences. Western automakers are aware that China is not a homogeneous market, but rather a complex and dynamic one with different regional characteristics, customer segments, and competitive landscapes. They are tailoring their products and services to meet the specific needs and expectations of Chinese consumers, such as offering more connectivity options, longer driving ranges, and lower prices. They are also leveraging their global brand reputation, quality standards, and customer loyalty to differentiate themselves from local competitors.

Niche markets

A third strategy is to diversify their portfolio and target niche markets. Western automakers are not only focusing on passenger cars, but also exploring other types of EVs, such as commercial vehicles, motorcycles, scooters, and buses. They are also targeting niche markets that have high growth potential or specific demands, such as luxury cars, sports cars, or green cars. By doing so, they can tap into new customer segments and create more opportunities.

The EV market is expected to grow rapidly in the coming years, as more countries and regions adopt policies and measures to support the transition to low-carbon mobility. China will remain a dominant player in the global EV scene, but the west will not lag behind.

How do EV’s compare to traditional vehicles?

Electric vehicles (EVs) are becoming more popular and competitive with traditional cars in terms of performance and cost. Here are some of the main differences and similarities between EVs and traditional cars:

Performance: EVs have a faster acceleration and are more efficient than traditional cars. They can reach high speeds in a short time, thanks to their instant torque rovided by the electric motor. They also have a smoother and quieter ride, as they do not have gears or transmissions. However, traditional cars perform better at high speeds and have a longer driving range than EVs. They can also handle different terrains and weather conditions better than EVs, as they have more power and stability.

Cost: EVs have a higher retail price than traditional cars, on average. But EVs may be a better financial deal for consumers over the long term. That’s because maintenance, repair and fuel costs tend to be lower than those for fossil fuel cars. EVs have fewer moving parts and fluids, which means they require less servicing and repairs. They also run on electricity, which is cheaper and cleaner than fossil derived fuels. However, traditional cars have lower upfront costs and more financing options than EVs. They also have a higher resale value and more availability than EVs, as they are more common and therefore familiar to buyers.

Environmental impact: EVs are more environmentally friendly than traditional cars, as they do not emit greenhouse gases or pollutants that contribute to air quality problems. They can also use renewable energy sources, such as solar or wind power, to charge their batteries and use fossil derived energy too.

However, EVs are not completely carbon-neutral, as they still depend on the electricity grid, which still uses fossil fuels to generate power. They also produce emissions during their manufacture and disposal processes.

Traditional cars, on the other hand, are a major source of carbon emissions and environmental damage, as they burn fossil fuels and release harmful substances into the atmosphere such as carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide. They also consume natural resources and create waste during their production and operation.

Energy generation
Fossil fuels generate power for the electric vehicle

As the EV population grows, so too will the energy requirement – and it will most likely be met moreso by fossil fuels in the short term as well as by renewables.

According to various sources, electric cars are generally cheaper to run than petrol cars in terms of fuel, road tax, maintenance, and insurance. However, the initial purchase price of electric cars is usually higher than petrol cars, so the overall cost of ownership may depend on how long you plan to keep the car and how much you drive it.

Running cost examples of electric cars vs petrol cars – (Spring 2023 data)

  • According to British Gas – fully charging a typical 60kW electric car at home costs £15.10 and gives you a 200-mile range, whereas filling up a petrol car with a similar range costs over £104. Electric cars also pay zero road tax, while petrol cars pay between £30 to £2,365 per year depending on their CO2 emissions. Electric cars also tend to have lower maintenance and insurance costs than petrol cars.
  • According to Regit – charging an electric car like the Vauxhall Corsa-E costs roughly £9.50 in electricity for a 200-mile range, while fuelling a petrol car with a similar range costs £41.63 in petrol. Electric cars also save money on road tax, maintenance, and congestion charges compared to petrol cars.
  • According to Which? – the electric Mini Cooper SE costs £8,000 more to buy than the petrol Mini One, but it costs £2,591 less to run over three years, mainly due to fuel savings. The electric car also pays no road tax or congestion charges, while the petrol car pays £155 and £11.50 per day respectively.
  • According to Auto Express – the annual running costs of an electric car are 21% less than those of a petrol car, excluding the purchase price. The average annual running cost for an electric car is £1,742, compared to £2,205 for a petrol car.
  • According to RAC – the annual running costs of an electric car like the Nissan Leaf are £1,233 less than those of a petrol car like the Ford Focus, excluding the purchase price. The electric car costs £1,062 per year to run, while the petrol car costs £2,295


There are many factors that affect the running costs of electric cars vs petrol cars, and different sources may have different assumptions and methods of calculation. However, the general trend is that electric cars are cheaper to run than petrol cars in most cases.

Hydrogen and hybrids are fast becoming future contenders. Watch this space…

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