China boasts the world’s largest EV market and a 2000 km EV road trip across the country by Bloomberg News offered a glimpse of the end of the age of oil.

Nobody could fail to witness the EV boom whenever they visit a major Chinese city. From January to November this year, China produced 8.43 million EVs, up by 34.5 percent on a yearly basis, while total sales increased by 36.7 percent to 8.3 million units over the same period, according to China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM).

BloombergNEF projects that by 2026, over 50 percent of all new passenger vehicle sales in China will be electric. This surge in domestic purchases has helped Chinese companies build a dominant position in the world’s EV supply chain.

But what about the rest of China? Can EVs be as successful in areas with less money, longer drives, and less ubiquitous charging infrastructure? A group of journalists from Bloomberg News took a week-long road trip from the coastal metropolis of Shanghai into the sparsely populated central province of Jiangxi, in a BYD Qin, a popular electric sedan.

The 2000 km journey revealed the increasing adoption of EVs by Chinese consumers and the potential implications for the global oil industry. As Bloomberg News stated, what they had found on their travels was not good news for the oil trade.

The biggest drawback of driving an EV is the long charging time – on Bloomberg News’ trip, usually 50 minutes every go. According to Bloomberg News, the journalists had expected to hear complaints from local EV drivers about the waiting time. However, all they heard was the money the local drivers had saved by using EVs.

The lack of charging spots in rural areas had also been one of the Bloomberg News team’s major concerns before the trip. However, they found plenty even on the long, lonely stretches of rural highways. During their 2,000-kilometer drive, their mapping software said they were rarely further than 30 kilometers from a public charger.

More importantly, many local consumers they met during the trip said they were happy with their EVs in terms of convenience, cost, designs, and high-tech features, so they could not imagine going back to fueled cars.

Bloomberg News concluded that the road trip showed the transition to EVs in China was a remarkable evolution, which had consequences far beyond the auto industry.

“Every car you start driving with electricity, you’re not driving with oil. If it [China’s EV growth rate] keeps up for the next decade, it’s going to put a big dent into oil consumption globally”, Bloomberg News quoted Robert Brecha, a professor of sustainability at the University of Dayton in Ohio.

It potentially heralds the end of the oil era.

Will Davis is a freelance writer covering economic, automobile, and lifestyle topics in Vietnam.

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Photo credit: China Daily