Cheap, locally-branded electric vehicles have sparked a boom in sales in China, thanks to a cocktail of subsidies and government policies. That's a challenge for global brands like Tesla an Nissan, who can't compete on price. Ryan Brooks reports.
It's the world's top market for electronic vehicles by a long shot, but big names like Nissan and Tesla aren't the reason why China sells more EVs than the rest of the world combined. Chinese drivers are flocking to dealerships selling local brands which may have much shorter ranges, but they're vastly cheeper. Take the Chery eQ , a battery-powered two-door on sale at just $8,500 dollars, thanks to generous government subsidies that knock off two-thirds of its retail cost. Buying an eco-frienly car also makes it much easier to get a license plate in China, as officials come down hard on gas guzzlers in the war on pollution. It's all good news for local manufacturers, but cracking this rapidly-gowing market isn't so easy for outsiders. Non-Chinese companies can only get in on in on joint ventures with Chinese parnters, and even then, it's hard for them to compete with local producers on price. Still, big global names like GM are determined to make an impact on the Chinese market, and they're throwing billions of dollars at making it happen. It's not just one-way traffic, either. Made-in-China brands like BYD are already making and selling EVs abroad, and others are eager to follow suit.