Look to China for the auto industry's electric future.
Some of the world's largest automobile companies unveiled flagship electric vehicles at the Shanghai Auto Show this week. Many of those cars will only be available in China, where government subsidies and policies favor electric vehicles. As the largest market globally for autos and a manufacturing hub, the Asian giant is becoming a center for electric vehicle development.
On Tuesday, Audi unveiled its electric sports utility vehicle Q2L e-tron, to be produced in the southern city of Foshan and only available domestically. The luxury German brand also launched the e-tron for China, after premiering it in San Francisco last year as the company's first electric production model. The e-tron will also be produced in China beginning in 2020, the company announced during the press conference.
"The biggest chunk of electric cars of the Audi portfolio we will have here in China. China will lead this initiative from a technology standpoint and a portfolio standpoint," Alexander Seitz, member of Audi's board of management for finance, China and legal affairs, said in an interview with CNBC on Tuesday.
Seitz said the company plans to more than double the staff of its local research and development center from 300 to 700 people. "The Chinese market is very innovative, is very speedy," he said. "So here we can get a lot of inputs for our global activities as well."
Audi's parent, Volkswagen, also released big plans to push into China's electric vehicle market around the Shanghai Auto Show. The company said in a release it expects China will contribute to more than half of its planned 22 million battery electric vehicles by 2028.
Volkswagen announced a new line of electric-only vehicles that will be available in China beginning in 2021. The first will be a sports utility vehicle called ID. ROOMZZ.
"We have a clear ambition to be the number one NEV (electric vehicle) brand in China, and we have no doubt the ID. ROOMZZ will play an important part of that," Stephan Wöllenstein, CEO, Volkswagen Group China, said during an event on Tuesday.
Also premiering in Shanghai was Infiniti's concept for an electric sports sedan called Qs Inspiration. The Nissan-owned luxury brand also announced that the first of its new generation of electric vehicles will be built in China for the domestic market.
"China is going to be the place (for electric vehicles)," Trevor Hale, general manager for Infiniti Global Communications, told CNBC. "This is the future of electrification by far ... This is where we wanted to make a statement for Infiniti, which is going all electric."