April 23, 2019

YOU WOULD THINK: Electric Car Fires in China Should Set Off Alarms.

The numbers are damning. In 2018, Chinese manufacturers recalled 135,700 NEVs for a crushing 10.8 percent industrywide recall rate. Already this year, another 23,458 electric vehicles have been recalled.

Batteries are the most common source of problems. Some don’t perform as advertised. Others drain unusually fast. Still others run dangerously hot. More than 40 NEVs spontaneously combusted in China in 2018.

Other issues include faulty motors, faulty transmissions, faulty odometers and bad odors (a problem to which Chinese consumers are particularly sensitive). Most notably, according to market research firm J.D. Power, problems are far more common in Chinese NEVs than in traditional Chinese-made cars.

True, as with any new technology, teething problems are to be expected. But China’s government-sponsored largesse and highly protected market have clearly exacerbated the problem.

Paging Tom Friedman

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