Electric Vehicles

"It won't take China long to catch up because the U.S. is not moving very fast."
--U.S. Professor, Mechanical Engineering

"[China's catch-up] is a combination of China catching up and the U.S. slowing down."
--Program Manager, U.S. Federal Agency 

The auto industry traditionally has high barriers to entry. As an emerging niche in the industry, however, electric vehicles (EV) provide an avenue where China hopes to leapfrog competitors and establish itself as a major player.
China's desire to lead the technology is further motivated by serious domestic pollution, where high fuel efficiency and zero-emission vehicles can bring large benefits. As such, the Chinese government is investing heavily in the electric vehicle industry.

Survey Highlights

(U.S. results only; Chinese surveys still being administered)
Based on survey responses from 114 U.S. electric vehicle experts,
  • 60 percent of U.S. experts rate U.S. innovation in electric vehicles as high.
  • 77 percent of U.S. experts believe U.S. EV technology is at the global frontier.
  • Asked about China's distance from the frontier, the average time for China to catch up to the current frontier is approximately 2.9 years. To catch up to the advancing frontier, U.S. experts believe China will need a minimum average of 5.0 years.

Preliminary Results

Electric Vehicle Survey Results Executive Summary: U.S. Data [pdf]