• China controls global supplies of cobalt vital to electric car batteries

A flurry of cheaper, well-stocked Chinese cars — particularly electric — is now arriving on UK shores.

This is proving a double-edged sword. Chinese cars can be up to 20 per cent cheaper, according to the EU, which is great news for consumers seeking more affordable plug-in motoring in the sub £30,000 'sweet spot'.

But the UK government, EU and US have warned that China's aggressive policies pose a 'challenge' to Western values and economies. 

It is making us overly dependent on China's battery, microchip and other technologies. 

China already controls (via Africa) global supplies of cobalt vital to electric car batteries.

In October last year the European Commission announced an 'anti-subsidy' investigation into imports of electric vehicles from China alleging that the 'global market is flooded with cheaper electric vehicles' dumped on Western markets with artificially low prices backed by 'huge state subsidies'. 

President Biden has already imposed tariffs of 27.5 per cent (Trump would hike to 100 per cent) and the EU and UK may follow. 

The U.S. also fears smart chips on Chinese cars could turn them into 'spies on wheels'.

Against this background Chinese car firms are making their pitch. 

Among the brands heading this way are BYD, the world's biggest exporter, Omoda, legendary UK brand MG, now owned by China's SAIC, and Volvo, along with Polestar, owned by Geely.

And Mini is building its new electric Cooper and Aceman models initially in China as part of a joint venture with Great Wall Motors.

Renault unveils refreshed Captur compact crossover

Available from autumn, it is the taller sibling of the Clio and comes with a choice of two powertrains.

The entry level 90bhp 1.0-litre three-cylinder is linked to a six-speed manual gearbox, averages 48.3mpg and is expected to cost from around £22,000.

The full-hybrid automatic 143bhp E-Tech variant combines a 94bhp 1.6-litre 4-cylinder engine with two electric motors and a 1.2kWh battery and will cost from about £29,000. It averages 60.1mpg.

Pressing an 'E-Save' button near the steering wheel maintains a battery charge of at least 40 per cent for optimum performance under strain.

Read more

2024-04-12T23:19:23Z dg43tfdfdgfd