China aims to produce nearly half of new electric car models by 2020

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Chinese automakers are now widely presumed to be on the right track to produce 49 of the 103 new electric car models that will be launched globally by 2020, as part of China's goal to accelerate the switch to battery power from oil, according to a new forecast released.

AlixPartners, US consulting firm has said that China is aiming to have nearly two-thirds of the world's manufacturing capacity for lithium-ion batteries by 2021, and is investing to support current sales of domestic-brand electric vehicles in the world's largest car market.

Already, Chinese automakers can boast of 96% of the electric vehicles sold in the country, AlixPartners also added.

Automakers sold about 350,000 electric vehicles in China in 2016 – still less than 2% of total vehicle sales.

By 2025, electric vehicle batteries should be seen driven with internal combustion engines in terms of production costs, AlixPartners forecast.

Lower battery costs could help boost its acceptance by the consumers.

John Hoffecker, the firm's global vice chairman, told reporters at the Automotive Press Association in Detroit on Tuesday that other factors, such as a significant reduction of the time it takes to recharge electric car batteries, will be critical to efforts to win over reluctant consumers.

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AlixPartners also cautioned that many of the roughly 50 companies it counts as contestants in the race to develop self-driving cars won't go the distance. "It's impossible to believe there will be 50 successful autonomous vehicle companies," Hoffecker said.

In the United States, AlixPartners said automakers will have to contend with funding investments in new technology against deep-pocketed technology industry players such as Apple Inc and Alphabet Inc, even as sales of cars and light trucks slide into a cyclical trough.

AlixPartners is forecasting that US car and light truck sales will fall to 15.2 million vehicles in 2019, down 13% from the 2016 peak.

 Other US analysts also predict a slowdown in vehicle sales during the next two to three years.

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