As electric car brands struggle, the government has released a 15 year plan for the industry’s development. Since subsidies were withdrawn in June, industry darlings like Nio and SAIC have seen sales flatten out, as Chris Udemans wrote in July. Some analysts expected this plan to be more targeted in upgrading the industry—so when I saw it was out, I dropped everything to ask experts what it meant.

I thought I was going to write about cars. But after a week of reporting, I’m convinced the real story is tuktuks. Low speed electric vehicles (LSEVs) are taking over rural China without subsidies—in fact, experts are not even asking if they can be saved, but if they can be stopped.

They are “so underrated,” says David Li, Executive Director of the Shenzhen Open Innovation Lab. Li helps international entrepreneurs interested in mobility access resources in China. While people talk of an EV downturn, he said, “go to an LSEV company—they say they are still growing 30 percent per year.” 

Start your free trial now.

Get instant access to all our premium content, archives, newsletters, and online community.

Monthly Membership

Yearly Membership

What you get

Full access to all premium content and our full archives

Members'-only newsletters

Preferential access and discounts to all TechNode events

Direct access to the TechNode newsroom

Start your free trial now.

Get instant access to all our premium content, archives, newsletters, and online community.

Monthly Membership

Yearly Membership

Lavender Au

Lavender covers regulation and its effects on people. She previously worked in a policy advisory analyzing China’s internal governance for foreign governments and multinationals. A History graduate from...