The books, reporters, and WeChat accounts to read if you want to understand China’s electric-vehicle industry

Workers assemble battery-powered automobiles with the help of automated and semi-automated processes at a BYD factory in Shenzhen in southern China.
Workers assemble battery-powered automobiles with the help of automated and semi-automated processes at a BYD factory in Shenzhen in southern China.
Image: Theodore Kaye for Quartz
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One of the biggest challenges of reporting our field guide to China’s electric-vehicle industry was the limited amount of quality, English-language coverage to date. That said, if you are interested in staying up to date on a deep level, below are some of the resources we drew from. We included some of our key Chinese resources, as well.



EV Volumes: A one-stop shop for global data on electric vehicles. Some data is available for free after registration.

Bloomberg New Energy Finance: A reliable and up-to-date source of global data on all forms of non-fossil energy sources. Only a small fraction is available for free.

International Energy Agency: Another reliable and up-to-date source of all types of global energy. Much of the data are available for free.

In Chinese

China Passenger Car Association (CPCA): It publishes monthly sales of new-energy passenger cars, organized by brands and models. It sources the data from carmakers’ self-reports.

China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM): A government-affiliated organization that publishes sales information on monthly passenger cars and commercial vehicles.

Ministry of Information and Industry Technology (MIIT): A government regulator of China’s auto industry that releases monthly lists of new products approved for sale in the country, among other things.

China Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Promotion Alliance (EVCIPA): Among other things, this organization tracks charging station construction and status in all provinces across China.

Industry news

Echo Huang at Quartz: A Hong Kong-based journalist who covers China’s EV industry with a global perspective.

Trefor Moss at the Wall Street Journal: A Shanghai-based correspondent who frequently publishes big-picture stories on China’s EV industry.

South China Morning Post: It’s usually among the first English-language publications to break China EV stories.

In Chinese

第一电动 ( A site with reliable insight on China’s auto industry.

电动观察家 (WeChat ID evobserver): Provides a daily roundup on China’s EV industry.

建约车评 (WeChat ID jianyuecheping): Another source of daily roundup on China’s EV industry.

Cui Dongshu, secretary of the China Passenger Car Association (WeChat ID: cui-dongshu): Provides data and analysis on electric passenger cars.


The Great Race: The Global Quest for the Car of the Future by Levi Tilleman: We talked to Tillemann for this series, but there’s more insight in his book. It’s the best global overview of the EV industry and gives a deep understanding of the forces that have shaped its revival.

The Powerhouse: America, China, and the Great Battery War by Steve LeVine: Though the book is mostly based around the story of one government lab in the US, it places China’s efforts in the early 2000s in context. Now that China has won the battle, it’s an interesting look back.

Totaled: The Billion-Dollar Crash of the Startup that Took on Big Auto, Big Oil and the World by Brian Blum: The book explains the rise and fall of Better Place, a battery-swapping startup. Although not a book on China, it tells the story of a technology that some Chinese companies are now betting on.

Insane Mode: How Elon Musk’s Tesla Sparked an Electric Revolution to End the Age of Oil by Hamish McKenzie: This is a new book looking specifically at Tesla, but it also gives a peek inside Chinese companies like BYD and startups like Byton.