We recently shared with you what Rolls-Royce has in mind if you’re in the market for an electric car. The Rolls-Royce brand is decidedly British, which got us to thinking about vehicles and renewable energy on a global scale.

Sure, there are countries such as the United States that are making big strides in this area – but it is a worldwide market. There’s no bigger market to crack than China. So, what’s going on there in terms of the sales of electric vehicles?


A decade ago you would have been met with a lot of pushback if you suggested that China would quickly become a leader in some form of renewable energy technology. It was a country addicted to coal, and we were regularly treated to photographs of pollution in major cities that looked like the scene out of a science fiction movie.

But, guess who fell in love with electric vehicles? It’s a dramatic change – but China’s embrace of electric vehicles was aided by its government’s strong commitment to the Paris Agreement, as well as generous investment in incentives to use renewable energy.

Let’s look at some numbers. The arrows point to the leader. They tell the story best:

Registered Electric Vehicles

US 2011 – 17,730      US 2012 – 53,240     US 2013 – 96,700
CH 2011 – 5,070       CH 2012 – 9,900       CH 2013 – 15,340
US 2014 – 118,870   US 2015 – 113,870    US 2016 – 159,000
CH 2014 – 73,180     CH 2015 – 207,380   CH 2016 – 351,861

It took less than 24 months for China to outpace the United States to the point where their appetite for electric vehicles more than doubles America’s.

At first blush, it might seem like it shouldn’t be all that amazing. Especially when you compare the populations of the two countries. Surpassing the United States by 200,000 in 2016 should be an easy feat in the much larger Chinese market.

Growth percentages, though, tell a different story. Sales of electric vehicles grew by 381% in China from 2014 to 2016. Meanwhile, in the United States, the growth was only about 33% during the same time period.

Something Doesn’t Smell Right

Is there anything that can stop this juggernaut? Probably not – especially as long as the government of China continues to promote electric vehicles, as well as other alternative mobility concepts. There is, however, one thing that Chinese consumers generally dislike about new cars.

Americans try to prolong it – but vehicle buyers in China just don’t like that “new car” smell. A recent J.D. Power report found that ‘unpleasant car smells’ were the top concern for Chinese buyers – much more so than fuel consumption or engine issues.

The world’s top vehicle manufacturers are working on that as fast as possible.

We may disagree with China on what a new car should smell like, neither country argues about the necessity for renewable energy. It’s here for your business right now. You’ll save up to 10% when you subscribe to one of our solar gardens. There’s no cost involved, and no solar panels on your business rooftop, either. Read more about it here.