Chinese electric-vehicle makers have set their sights on winning over European drivers and large corporate customers with more affordable cars that come with top safety ratings and lots of high-tech features.
In the last few months, several Chinese EVs have received five-star European New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) ratings - an achievement that requires loading vehicles with active and passive safety features that go well beyond legal requirements.
More are coming.
"All Chinese EV makers want to achieve Euro NCAP five-star ratings in order to be more competitive in the European market," said Brian Gu, president of Chinese EV maker Xpeng.
Gu said Xpeng has spent the last three years building stores and service centers in Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden - with some initial sales in Norway - before an official launch next year of its electric P7 sedan and G9 SUV in the four countries.
Chinese EV makers have recognised that safety plays an incredibly important part of the sales process, said Matthew Avery, director at Thatcham Research, a British car research centre funded by insurers and a Euro NCAP board member.
Five-star Euro NCAP ratings are seen as key to overcoming residual European concerns over the quality of Chinese-made cars, after awful crash test failures in 2006 and 2007 created an impression that cars from China were unsafe.
Perhaps more importantly for sales, high safety ratings also open up the potentially huge corporate car fleet market for Chinese EV makers.
Fleet sales make up about half of all car sales in major markets including Germany, France and the UK, and many corporate buyers put a premium on safety.
"Fleet sales are very important and a lot of fleets have a mandatory five-star rating for buying cars," Avery said.