Chinese electric cars sold in Europe are expensive, sometimes very expensive. There are many exceptions like the MG4 and the Dacia Spring. But in any case, Chinese electric cars are much more expensive in Europe than in China. We show you the figures and explain why.
Our colleagues on the site took on a long, complex, but very interesting task. They have in fact analyzed the sales prices of Chinese electric cars in Europe… and in China. Enough to highlight phenomenal differences in certain cases, which also allows us to dispel certain preconceived ideas.
Cheap Chinese cars? Not really
The first is that a Chinese electric car would necessarily be cheaper, and therefore more affordable, than its European counterpart. But this is not automatic, as BYD proved with its arrival in France, or Nio in Germany. However, there are affordable Chinese electric cars in Europe, like the MG4 or the Leapmotor T03. But they are rather an exception.
The document allows us to see things more clearly. It lists all Chinese electric cars which are sold both in China and in Europe. And for each model, we find the selling price in China, and on the Old Continent. Which allows us to see that not all manufacturers have the same strategy, but one thing in common comes out immediately.
All electric cars in this ranking are sold more expensively in Europe than in China, after converting their tax-inclusive price from yuan to euros. Tesla is the least greedy manufacturer, with an additional cost of “only” 25 to 28% when the car is sold in France. At MG, we are more around 65%. But be careful, some do even worse, like BYD, which simply doubles its prices (+ 100%) when exporting to France with its Dolphin, Atto 3, Seal or even Han and Tang.
Go to the website of to discover all the data from the study and go further.
Why such price differences?
But how can we explain these price differences between China and Europe? And above all, how can we explain the differences between manufacturers? Several elements of answers can be put forward.
The first information to know is that Chinese electric cars imported into Europe must incur a 10% import tax. This could potentially be higher in the months to come, if Europe decides to act in this direction as it has implied. Logistical costs (transport, storage, etc.) related to import must also be taken into account.
In China, VAT on electric cars is 13% (of the price excluding taxes), compared to 20% in France. This helps explain the price differences a little more.
But all this is not enough to justify a doubling of the prices of an electric car between its production in China and its delivery in France. Other more strategic and confidential elements then come into account.
This is particularly the case of the construction of a new network (commercial and after-sales service) in a country, which is expensive, or the brand image reflected by “high” prices in the face of competition, as we have seen in our file dedicated to the subject.
Made in Europe to save prices?
Ultimately, (really) affordable electric cars in Europe could come more from our national manufacturers. And it’s off to a good start, as we can see with the future Citroën ë-C3 which will be sold from 19,990 euros in 2025. We can also cite the future electric Renault R5 and, in Germany, the Volkswagen ID. 2 and its little sister ID.1.
On the side of Chinese manufacturers, some wish to build factories in Europe for more localized production. But this could then involve an increase in production costs, and therefore sales prices. But it’s a condition sine qua non to be able to continue to benefit from the new ecological bonus.