China Needs More Ships to Handle Its Rapidly Growing EV Exports

Chris Teague
by Chris Teague

China had long been a sort of a sleeping giant in the world economy, though it hasn’t been so sleepy over the last few decades. The country’s tech, automotive, and manufacturing industries have become juggernauts in their respective sectors, and the Chinese auto industry has solidified itself as a global force. Automakers there are exporting so many electric vehicles that China has found its shipping fleet – already the eighth largest in the world – is inadequate to handle the volume.

China is expanding its shipping capabilities to the point that it will become the fourth-largest fleet in the world, and it’s opening new trade routes to accommodate all the action. Companies like BYD, SAIC Motor, Chery, and others have ordered dozens of new ships as the country’s auto industry has overtaken Japan’s as the world’s largest exporter.

Though it’s growing rapidly, the Chinese automotive sector has been criticized by Europe, America, and others for the government’s heavy subsidies that make it unfairly competitive against higher-priced Western models. The U.S. government has made it nearly impossible for Chinese companies to sell vehicles here, though that could always change, and BYD has said that it has no plans to do business here.

Even so, American companies like Tesla face an uphill battle competing with Chinese automakers as it goes back and forth with BYD for world sales records. Pricing remains a challenge for electric vehicles in America for now, though, as no automaker has been able to crack the affordability nut. That, along with the highly polarized political environment here, has slowed EV adoption, so it could only be a matter of time before demand for cheaper Chinese models intensifies.

[Image: Sheila Fitzgerald via Shutterstock]

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Chris Teague
Chris Teague

Chris grew up in, under, and around cars, but took the long way around to becoming an automotive writer. After a career in technology consulting and a trip through business school, Chris began writing about the automotive industry as a way to reconnect with his passion and get behind the wheel of a new car every week. He focuses on taking complex industry stories and making them digestible by any reader. Just don’t expect him to stay away from high-mileage Porsches.

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4 of 23 comments
  • Lorenzo Lorenzo on Apr 12, 2024

    At least two car carrier ships with high end European EV cars aboard have caught fire in the Atlantic, on their way to America. The crews abandoned the ships, since there was no way to stop the fires, and the ships burned until they sank. What shipping company would be stupid enough to ship Chinese EVs across the pacific?

    • VoGhost VoGhost on Apr 12, 2024

      Do you have any credible sources for these fairy tales?

  • Zerofoo Zerofoo on Apr 12, 2024

    What can be more green than shipping an EV half way around the world?

    • VoGhost VoGhost on Apr 12, 2024

      Um, shipping thousands of times as much in oil around the world for each ICE vehicle sold.

      Sometimes, I wonder if any of these people who hate choice in drivetrains experience a single coherent thought before writing.

  • NJRide So this is an average age of car to be junked now and of course this is a lower end (and now semi-orphaned) product. But street examples seem to still be worth 2500? So are cars getting junked only coming in because of a traumatic repair? If not it seems a lot of cars being junked that would still possibly worth more than scrap.Also Murilee I remember your Taurus article way back what is the king of the junkyard in 2024?
  • AMcA I applaud Toyota for getting away from the TRD performance name. TuRD. This is another great example of "if they'd just thought to preview the name with a 13 year old boy."
  • Jeff Does this really surprise anyone? How about the shoes and the clothes you wear. Anything you can think of that is either directly made in China or has components made in China likely has some slave labor involved. The very smart phone, tablet, and laptop you are using probably has some component in it that is either mined or made by slave labor. Not endorsing slave labor just trying to be real.
  • Jeff Self-driving is still a far ways from being perfected. I would say at the present time if my car took over if I had a bad day I would have a much worse day. Would be better to get an Uber
  • 2manyvettes Time for me to take my 79 Corvette coupe out of the garage and drive if to foil the forces of evil. As long as I can get the 8 track player working...