BAIC new energy vehicles dominate domestic market

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The number of new energy vehicles (NEVs) in Beijing has increased to around 130,000 by the first half of this year, including 43,000 made by the Beijing Automotive Industry Co. (BAIC).

The company ranks first among domestic NEV manufacturers in terms of sales, and the made-in-Beijing electric vehicles are helping to reduce the city s air pollution.

EU400, the BAIC's flagship model, promises a range of 460 kilometers on a single charge. Customers can expect to pay eight yuan (US$1.2) for electricity for every 100 kilometer traveled -- about 16.7 percent of the cost for a vehicle running on gasoline, which translates to an average saving of 6,000 yuan per 20,000 kilometers.

The NEV market in the capital has been growing rapidly in recent years. In 2012, Beijing began a pilot program on NEV rentals, and the first batch of privately owned NEVs hit the road the next year. A new smart car model LITE was released by the company this year.

"BAIC has more than 10 types of NEVs with different sizes and prices to meet the different needs of customers," said Zheng Gang, Party secretary and general manager of the company, adding that the vehicles are also available for purchase in other cities in China.

Zheng said the sales volume of NEVs has risen rapidly from 698 in 2012 to 52,187 in 2016. By August, the company has sold over 124,000 NEVs, the most among domestic electric car makers over the past four years.

He added that all these NEVs have combined to travel over 1.21 billion kilometers, which led to 190,000 tons in carbon emission reduction.

'Internet+' marketing strategies

In order to better promote these green vehicles, BAIC used various "Internet+" marketing strategies.

Since 2012, BAIC has launched rental platforms for NEVs all around China. By June this year, its rental network has covered eight cities with 10,000 vehicles and more than 200,000 customers.

The company is also offering NEVs with replaceable batteries in its rental service -- 2,400 vehicles in Beijing, Xiamen, and Lanzhou by June. It takes only three minutes for the NEVs to change batteries at a service station, faster than it takes a traditional vehicle to fill gas.

'International R&D standard'

BAIC recently opened its new research and development center in Yizhuang in southeast Beijing. Named "Lan Gu," or "Blue Valley," the center covers 100,000 square meters and will become the company's new R&D base, with labs for battery technologies, AI, big data, and other research facilities related to the new energy vehicles.

"We are building a vehicle research center with international standard on par with renowned companies like Tesla and BMW," Zhang said. "The latest technologies and vehicle parts will be shared within the BAIC group."

The company has invested 3.622 billion yuan to research and development of new energy vehicles, accounting for 20.35 percent of its revenue. By July this year, BAIC has applied for 2,219 patents for its NEVs.

The company plans to reach 500,000 annual sales and 60 billion yuan annual revenue from 2016 to 2020. The company also aims to go public within that time period with its market value reaching 100 billion yuan.

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