The new-generation intelligent cockpit of FAW's Hongqi brand is demonstrated at the 2023 Shanghai auto show in April. (LONG WEI/FOR CHINA DAILY)
New energy vehicles have accelerated an artificial intelligence transformation in the auto industry and brought about new experiences in mobility, a report from research company IDC showed last week.
The market size of NEVs in China has grown rapidly in the past few years, which accounted for 31.7 percent of total passenger vehicle sales in the first quarter, according to IDC China.
In terms of brands, BYD held the largest market share of 32.6 percent during the period, up from 25.1 percent in the first quarter of 2022. Tesla, Aion and Wuling accounted for 9.2 percent, 5.4 percent and 5.1 percent respectively.
NEVs priced from 100,000 yuan ($13,794) to 200,000 yuan accounted for 30.6 percent of the NEV market in the first quarter of 2023.
According to IDC China, as brands update models, NEVs within this price range are gradually replacing traditional internal combustion vehicles. BYD held a significant market share of 55.1 percent in this price range.
NEVs priced from 200,000 to 300,000 yuan accounted for 32.1 percent of the market. Among them, BYD, Tesla and Volkswagen held market shares of 44.8 percent, 21.6 percent and 7.5 percent respectively.
IDC China forecast that NEVs will account for more than 30 percent of new passenger vehicles in 2023 and reach 81 percent by 2027.
Wang Bo, research manager of IDC China, said electrification makes NEVs' underlying architecture more suitable for the implementation of AI driving and cockpit technologies. This is an important factor in the AI transformation of vehicles.
Wang said that currently, intelligent driving is mainly used in the passenger vehicle market through Level 2 driver assistance systems.
The IDC China research shows that 56.1 percent of NEVs featured Level 2 driving-assist functions in the first quarter of this year. This was 15.8 percentage points higher than the proportion in gas-powered vehicles.
The proportion of passenger vehicles equipped with Level 2 driving-assist functions increased to 45.3 percent in the first quarter, up from 32.3 percent in the same period of 2022.
Passenger vehicles with Level 2 driving features are mainly found in the price range of 200,000 to 400,000 yuan, accounting for more than 70 percent of the total in the first quarter.
Another driving factor in the AI transformation of vehicles is intelligent cockpits, whose rates in passenger vehicles reached 88.8 percent in the first quarter.
A total of 90.4 percent of NEVs were equipped with intelligent cockpit-related features. The rate was slightly lower at 86.4 percent in gas-powered vehicles, according to IDC China.
Voice interaction functions were available in 99.5 percent of NEVs priced above 400,000 yuan.
IDC China predicts that this function will be fitted to lower-priced vehicles as AI tech matures.
Also, fatigue monitoring, head-up displays and multimedia systems have entered a period of rapid growth, according to IDC China.
Amid the rising popularity of intelligent driving and cockpits in China, upgraded vehicle connectivity capabilities play a crucial role, Wang said.
As vehicle connectivity advances, the auto industry is placing importance on the infrastructure of the connected vehicle ecosystem, commonly referred to as the "vehicle cloud".
In the second half of 2022, the market size of the vehicle cloud in China reached 3.96 billion yuan, representing a year-on-year growth of 41.8 percent.
IDC China predicts that the compound annual growth rate of Chinese vehicle cloud market in the next five years will reach 53.6 percent. By 2027, the market is expected to exceed 60 billion yuan.