Official estimates put electrified car sales in China at 507,000 units in 2016. However, the government is hoping that annual sales can rise to 2m units by 2020.

Sales are growing fast (up over 50% last year) according to Dong Yang, vice director of China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM), with China accounting for more than 50% of the world's electric car production and sales last year. The country has also become a major global sourcing hub for key EV components, such as batteries.

According to an official plan on auto industry development, China aims to see electric car output and sales hit two million annually by 2020, about four times the current level.

While China saw some 507,000 EVS and PHEVs were sold in 2015, some 222,200 EVs and PHEVs were sold in Europe, a 14% increase; and 157,130 units were sold in the US, up 36% on 2015.

The Chinese government has sought to boost demand for EVs by encouraging local authorities to offer financial incentives to customers and companies. There is also a realisation in Beijing that China's cities will have to avoid Western-style car penetration levels and conventional technologies due to road congestion and environmental issues.