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Green vision, hi-tech fuel Chinese NEVs' march to European market

Xinhua | Updated: 2021-10-11 15:47
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New trends, new strength

In NIO's advanced production base for NEVs in East China's city of Hefei, about 400 vehicles are produced each day, with 307 robots busy at work under a fully automated system.

For European consumers, electric vehicles made in China bring a different user experience with their eye-catching technology, customized production, and affordable prices.

With just one tap on its center display, NIO cars can be automatically parked into a battery-swap station and it takes only three minutes to swap a fully charged battery, to shorten the owner's waiting time for a recharge.

NIO said it aims to install 20 battery-swap stations in Norway's five largest cities and on some of the country's major roads.

Gunnar Birkenfeldt, one of the first Norwegian users of NIO and executive of a car subscription service platform, said that even though the battery swapping technology was not new to this world conceptually, it is another matter to commercialize the concept.

Given the current user experience, he had no reason not to choose other NIO models in the future, Birkenfeldt said.

In addition to innovations in the production and charging process, artificial intelligence has also been a major feature of many Chinese EVs.

Also in September, a 12-meter-long self-driving electric bus made by China's CRRC Electric Vehicle went on a trial run on open roads in Paris.

The vehicle cleared a six-km section along a bus route. In about 40 minutes, it passed 26 traffic lights and ten bus stops. The bus is scheduled to start regular passenger services next autumn.

A number of Chinese technology giants have recently jumped into the EV market, bringing more competition and innovation to the already booming industry.

Xiaomi, a Chinese electronics manufacturer well-known for its smartphones and entertainment electronics, unveiled an EV subsidiary, with a starting capital of 10 billion yuan ($1.5 billion), in September.

The Guangzhou-based GAC Group announced earlier this year a joint project with Chinese tech giant Huawei to develop a "smart SUV."

With tech companies entering the NEV market, competition surrounding AI is expected to be more intense.

Competition might be harsh for the automakers but also benefit the customers and will further boost the industry as well as contribute to the international community's efforts to tackle global warming.

According to data from China's Ministry of Commerce, NEVs have driven the growth of China's automotive exports. From January to July, auto exports increased by 102.5 percent year-on-year, a record growth rate over the same period in history.

"Only when Chinese auto companies enter the markets of developed countries can they truly participate in international competition," said Cui Dongshu, secretary-general of the China Passenger Car Association.

The explosive rise of China's auto exports in 2021, said Cui, reflects the significant increase in the global competitiveness of China's auto industry, while there is still huge room for export growth.

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