China’s electric vehicle sales rose by 160% to a record high of 2.9 million units in 2021, underpinning the first increase in overall car sales in the country in the past four years, reports Caixin. New-auto sales rose 3.8% to 26.3 million vehicles in 2021, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.
Sales of plug-in hybrids more than doubled to 600,000 units. Strength in such “new-energy” vehicles more than offset a 5% slump in other automobiles, including conventional gasoline-fueled models, amid a semiconductor shortage.
The surge reflects Beijing’s push to pivot to electrics as it works to make China a power in the auto industry. Manufacturers are required to have new-energy vehicles make up a certain share of production and sales, and the government extended for two years subsidies that had been set to expire at the end of 2020.