Chinese EV Makers Embrace Hybrid Innovation: Adding Gas Engines to Boost Sales

Chinese electric vehicle (EV) manufacturers are adopting a unique strategy to overcome consumer concerns about limited electric range and the lack of fast-charging infrastructure. Reports suggest that companies like IM Motors, the EV unit of SAIC Motor Corp, are incorporating gas engines into their electric cars, giving rise to extended-range electric vehicles (EREVs).

Why EREVs Are on the Rise:

  1. Short Electric Range: Many Chinese EREVs currently offer a limited electric range, potentially discouraging buyers who worry about the need for frequent charging.
  2. Limited Charging Infrastructure: The lack of widespread fast-charging stations in certain regions contributes to range anxiety among potential EV owners.
  3. Proven Market Demand: Success stories like Li Auto Inc’s EREVs, such as the Li ONE and Li L9 SUVs, indicate a strong market acceptance for this hybrid technology in China.

In Focus: IM Motors’ Strategy: IM Motors, recognizing the potential concerns of customers, is set to introduce its fifth model equipped with a gas engine. The pure electric range of this model is reported to be 124 miles, making the addition of a gas engine a strategic move to cater to a broader consumer base.

Other Players in the EREV Landscape:

  1. Li Auto Inc: Known for models like Li ONE and Li L9 SUVs, Li Auto has successfully embraced EREVs in the Chinese market.
  2. Avatr Technology: Plans are in place to introduce four EREVs to the lineup in 2024, showcasing the growing interest in this hybrid technology.
  3. Leapmotor: This company offers EREV versions of its popular C11 and C01 models, further diversifying the market.
  4. Neta Auto: Neta S EREV is a notable offering from Neta Auto, contributing to the expanding range of extended-range electric vehicles.

EREVs vs. Hybrids: While both EREVs and hybrids combine electric motors with gasoline engines, they differ in how the gasoline engine functions. EREVs primarily rely on their electric motor and battery pack, with the gasoline engine acting as a range extender. In contrast, hybrids use both the electric motor and gasoline engine to power the wheels directly, with the gasoline engine also charging the battery pack while driving.

As Chinese EV manufacturers navigate consumer concerns and market demands, the EREV approach provides a strategic solution, offering a balance between electric and gasoline-powered driving.

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