It could be said that Wuhu, a city of almost 4 million inhabitants, is something like a ‘Cheryland’. In this town located east of China is the main complex of Chery, one of the largest vehicle manufacturers in that country, which employs about 30,000 people (a little less than 1% of its population).
That is why its streets circulate many cars of that brand and that even the visits to its factories are promoted as tourist attraction.
One of those plants, what they call “new energies”, is where the EQ1 model is produced, an electric ultracompact with two doors. It is one of the most sold of the company in that segment because, according to its executives, it has the ideal size to circulate in the heavy traffic of Chinese cities and is cheaper: $ 10,000.
Chery can place it at that price – although its production cost is higher due to the technology it uses – because it takes advantage of the subsidies that the Chinese government gives to companies that are committed to the development of this energy source, and that is the basis of its plan State Made in China 2025
Every day they are manufactured in that plant (one of the six that has the company in China) about 200 EQ1, whose battery lasts 400 kilometers and its body is made of aluminum and other alloys.
More also electric models are manufactured in other plants of the company in China. In 2018, 90,000 “new energy” cars were sold in that nation: 40,000 of them EQ1.
In 2018, according to the China Automobile Manufacturers Association, Chery was the largest car exporter. Between the combustion and the electric sold more than 100,000.
China wants 20% of its cars to be electric
Zhan Gui Bin, president of Chery International, points out that next September the latter will arrive in Europe and Brazil for the first time.
But the rest of South America, including Ecuador, will have to wait. This is because there are still no conditions.
When asked about Ecuador, Zhan Gui Bin explains that “the costs of new energy vehicles are very high” and that they would like the government to generate “policies to support them”, such as lowering taxes.
Until then, he says, they will continue betting on the sale of combustion cars in the country. His expectation for this year is to reach 8,000.
Fabián Eguiguren, corporate director of Maresa (imports Chery’s vehicles to Ecuador), indicates that the company manufactures electric cars for the Chinese market.
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Going to the rest of the world is a “bet on the future”. And in the case of Ecuador, “there are several pending issues: the cost is still high, there is a problem of autonomy (the time it can run) and recharge; At some point this will be solved by the economies of scale of China … “, he says.
Add as an ‘indirect’ factor the existence of subsidies for fuels. “If we continue to have subsidized fuel, that incentive will not be created for people to migrate to electric cars.”
With the current conditions, an electric car could cost 20% or 30% more in the country than the combustion one.
Last week, the government of Lenin Moreno announced the delivery of credits from the public bank for taxis, buses and electric private vehicles of light transport cooperatives and dealerships.
Currently, 326 electric vehicles are circulating through the country’s roads, according to the Association of Automotive Companies of Ecuador (Aeade).
Aeade sees fall in car sales for 2019 in Ecuador
For Genaro Baldeón, president of that union, “any government initiative, such as the Ecuadorian’s recent announcement to promote credit lines to expand the supply and infrastructure of new technologies, contributes to a market that is just beginning in Latin America.”
“We must consider that these new technologies still have a high cost. To expand the electric vehicle market requires fiscal, administrative and financial incentives, which are accompanied by a strategy to establish a recharging infrastructure at national and local level, “says Baldeón (I)