TOKYO – Chinese automakers are projected to have the capacity to produce 4.4 million electric vehicles in 2020, more than triple current levels, according to a leading Japanese market-research organization.

Fourin, based in Nagoya, expects production capacity for battery-powered passenger vehicles, both pure EVs and plug-in hybrids, to grow to 3.8 million units in 2020, up from 1.0 million in 2016. Including buses and trucks, last year’s total was 1.2 million.

Separately, Fourin reports Chinese automakers produced 517,700 plug-in hybrids and EVs last year, nearly 40% more than in 2015. Included were 349,000 passenger vehicles. Plug-in hybrids accounted for 21% of the passenger-vehicle total.

Buses, the second-largest segment, totaled 240,000 units.

EV and PHEV output grew to a record 507,000 units in 2016, up 53% from prior-year, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.

Fourin reports most EVs are in the A and B segments. BYD is the only automaker producing models with range exceeding 188 miles (300 km).

Sales of conventional hybrids, meanwhile, grew to 86,200 units powered by Toyota’s Levin and Corolla hybrids, in production since 2015 at the automaker’s GAC Toyota Motor and Tianjin FAW Toyota Motor joint ventures. Toyota reportedly is planning to add RAV4 and C-HR hybrids to its China lineup in 2018.

The research company reports five brands accounted for 50% of hybrid and EV sales in China between 2011 and 2016, with BYD producing both plug-in hybrids and EVs and claiming a 16% share. Following were Zhejiang Geely at 10%, Toyota at 9%, BAIC at 8%, and Jianglin at 6.5%.

Among the Chinese-foreign tie-ups in the EV/PHEV segments: Audi and FAW Group; BMW and Brilliance; Daimler and BAIC; and Nissan and Dongfeng.

In total, more than 50 vehicle manufacturers produced battery-powered cars, trucks and buses last year in the world’s biggest auto market.

By 2020, Fourin expects the number of plants with the capacity to produce more than 1,000 units annually to grow to more than 90, nearly doubling the estimated 50 today.

Geely, owner of Volvo Cars since 2010, will operate nine plants including seven producing electric cars. Projected capacity is 740,000 units. In addition to Geely, Fourin reports BAIC, BYD, Dongfeng and Great Wall intend to substantially raise capacity in coming years.