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Thus far, Electric vehicles (EVs) have not seen a great deal of success in India, but thanks to some careful research and planning, some in the Indian government hope to see broad changes in coming years. The overall goal it seems is to make India a 100% EV country by the year 2030. This journey may be one of the most ambitious conversions the world has ever seen when it comes to the automobile.
The Narendra Modi government has a vision, and that vision includes bringing as much renewable energy to India as possible, and this includes making a move towards having the roadways filled with nothing but EVs by the year 2030. If they can accomplish this, it will be a feat well worth noting worldwide as this is one that is not going to be simple to achieve as it will not only take motivation from the government to accomplish but also from the general public.
While it is not likely that the country will be able to completely remove all gasoline powered automobiles from the roadways by 2030 and replace them with electric vehicles entirely, it is a goal worth working towards as plans are unrolled to cut the number of emissions released into the atmosphere, thus cutting air pollution as well as a large price for oil. As countries including China have seen a surplus of EVs, India is working to surpass others by becoming a leader in the EV market.
Nitin Gadkari, India’s road transport minister, told the automobile manufacturers that whether they liked it or not, he was going to progress the country forward to possible replacement fuels to help cut emissions. This is in part due to India signing in agreement with the Paris Climate Agreement to bring their portions of global emissions down considerably by the year 2030.
Is this goal to cut emissions by switching over to EVs only on the roadways by 2030 a feasible situation? At best, it will be difficult considering there are more than 20 million motor vehicles sold each year to more than 1 billion people in India. Again, to achieve this, it is going to take a considerable amount of cooperation and work between the government as well as the public and private business sectors of the country.
In 2017, the government has issued a tender to replace 10,000 vehicles with electric cars and a second tender even larger tender is expected in 2018. Indian auto manufacturer Tata was awarded the 2017 tender to supply 7,000 electric cars while Mahindra the remaining 3,000. On top of this, plans to completely replace all of the governmental cars in India with EVs is a giant step towards lowering fossil fuel usage and charging forward with electric vehicles in the country. Charging ports are being installed in many of India’s high-rise buildings, and taxes are being waived on the purchase of EVs in the private sector.
By the year 2025, it is expected that the cost of an electric vehicle will be comparable to the cost of a gasoline-powered vehicle in part thanks to a steady decline in the cost of the EV batteries and due to demand. India’s government has plans to produce lithium-ion batteries at Bharat Heavy Electricals, an engineering and manufacturing company located in Delhi, India.
To accomplish the 2030 goal, the government will need to make sure there is a heightened smart electrical grid with enough charging stations throughout the country to accommodate all the new electric vehicles expected to be on the roadways. Currently, there are around 100 charging stations in India, and with a lack of stations to charge, people are not able to travel long distance at this time. This means the government will need to undertake a massive amount of infrastructure in coming years to fulfill their goals. This is going to be a very difficult goal to reach as securing enough charging stations is going to be not only expensive to build, but the fact is that there are not many global battery supply companies at this time who can supply the stations in abundance and cost-effectively.
Plans are, however in development to make sure charging stations are going to be accessible. To help push this along, automakers including Toyota, Suzuki, and Nissan have begun to place bids to enter the Indian auto market with EVs suitable for the country to help boost production and fulfill the overall goals for sustainable EV production. Nissan, in particular, has been working to bring an affordable EV to the Indian market which would allow consumers to buy a new car for around USD 10,000. This is something that may seriously boost EV sales in India and be a win for all involved. Nissan’s global director has stated that this goal will need to work with the availability of batteries and charging stations in India.
Reaching the 2030 goal also has one other obstacle, and that is the civilian population of India. People like saving money and many cannot afford the higher cost of owning an electric vehicle. Even with government incentives for tax cuts, the overall success will come down to the affordability factor offered to the public to purchase and maintain an EV.
Keeping that in mind, the 2030 goal may not be entirely achievable within the timeframe set, but it is possible to come close as long as there is a focus on building infrastructure for charging stations, making EV ownership an affordable option for people and working with manufacturers to ensure batteries have power but also that the electric cars can compete with the demands of drivers today, and that will include cost as well as speed and overall vehicle design. People want cars that look good and drive fast, and if the EV manufacturers can offer those things on top of affordability and longer battery charges, then bringing India closer to a strictly electric vehicle country is a possibility in the future.
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We look at the Top brands and models, the gainers and losers and how the battle between battery electric (BEV) and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) technologies play out in the summary of Sweden EV Sales H1 2017.
The highlights for Swedish electric car sales in H1 2017 was:
The Top 3 EV brands in Sweden for H1 2017 were VW, new entrant Mitsubishi and BMW. Most EV brands except Volvo and Peugeot showed gains in units sales compared to H1 2016. Hyundai entered the Swedish market with its Hyundai Ioniq BEV. Initial sales for the Ioniq was below average in a market which has a preference for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. Toyota re-entered the market with the new Prius but failed to get the same traction as it did in other markets. Tesla and Mitsubishi nearly doubled their sales from 2016. Sweden is on of the few markets where Mitsubishi showed positive growth with the aging Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV in 2017 and now makes up 23.24% of all EV registrations in Sweden. BMW maintained its third overall position with the support of its 330e, 225xe, and X5 xDrive models, more than compensating for waning sales in the BMW i3 model series. VW held on to the top spot, mostly due to the VW Passat GTE which accounted for 25% of all EV sales in Sweden during H1 2017.
Ten new EV models entered the Swedish EV market in the comparison between H1 2016 and H1 2017. Of the ten new EV models, eight were plug-in hybrids, and only the Tesla Model X made it on to the Top 10 list. Volvo launched two new plug-in models at the end of May in its home market, the Volvo XC60 T8 and Volvo S90 T8 PHEV. The XC60 sold 44 units and the larger S90 31 units. The Nissan Leaf still performed well considering the upgrade is expected early 2018. Most of the Mercedes-Benz models fared well except for its larger S550 and GLE550 models. The Daimler company could however not compete with its compatriot, BMW, who had more models in the smaller end of the scale. The BMW 330e, BMW i3, and BMW 225xe Active Tourer sold 813 units while the Mercedes-Benz B250e and Mercedes-Benz C350e could only muster a combined 130 units. The Tesla Model S still performed well in Sweden as opposed to the general trend where we see the sales flattening out in its main markets.
Volvo was the big loser in Sweden during the first half of 2017 despite having a home ground advantage and bringing two new models to market, albeit only in late May. Volvo’s two mainstay plug-in electric cars, the Volvo XC90 T8 and Volvo V60 PHEV, lost nearly a third of their respective sales to brands such as VW, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz.
Sweden has a definite preference for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. Of the ten new models released since the first half of 2016 in Sweden, eight were PHEVs. A total of 5,850 plug-in hybrid vehicles were sold, comprising 72% of the market while only 2,301 pure electric models were sold during the same period. The percentage breakdown of PHEV to BEV in H1 2017 is very similar to that of H1 2016, explaining why most new models released in Sweden were PHEVs despite a halving of the rebate on plug-in hybrids.
In conclusion, even at a 3.4% of the national fleet (Q4 2016), electric vehicle sales in Sweden remains low compared to its neighbor Norway, which has an EV penetration of close to 30% (Q4 2016). The sluggish performance is linked to the Swedish EV incentive program which has been erratic, linked to a fixed amount of funding which has been depleted a couple of times. Also, the Swedish EV buyer does not get his/her rebate at the point of sale. The Swedish Transport Agency contacts owners after the purchase of the vehicle requesting the completion of a paper process after which they receive the rebate. The rebate of 40,000 kroner (~ $4,500) applied to BEVs and PHEVs up to October 2016 at which time it was halved for PHEVs.
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We look at the Top brands and models, the gainers and losers and how the battle between battery electric (BEV) and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) technologies play out in the summary of China EV Sales H1 2017.
The highlights for Chinese electric car sales in H1 2017 was:
The Top 3 EV brands in China for the first half of 2017 were BYD, BAIC, and Zhidou. Although BYD hung on to its first place, it sees its lead evaporate. BYD hardly registered any sales in the January 2017, and lost sales in its top performing Qin and Tang model ranges to competing new models from BAIC, Chery, and SAIC Roewe. BYD, one of the largest EV brands in the world, is seeing its position as China’s best performing EV brand challenged as it lost over 20% of its sales compared to 2016, while its competitor BAIC more doubled its sales. BAIC benefited from exciting new models entering the market in the last 12 months, with its small hatch, the BAIC EC180 being a top performer for three of the six months ending up the second best selling EV for the semester. Smaller EVs, or City cars, have also performed very well with the popular Zhidou Geely D2 selling nearly 20,000 units. Another brand with small EV models, Zotye, was placed fourth due to the popularity of its Cloud 100, E200 and E30 models. Other Top 10 Chinese EV brands selling city cars included Chery and JMC, both placed in the Top 10. Although JAC brought the exciting JAC iEV6S small SUV to market it was not enough to withstand the onslaught of its peers, crashing out of the Top 3 to the eight position. Tesla also entered the Top 10 list with the Model X performing very well (please note the June 2017 Tesla data did not make it in time for our analysis, which would have aided the brand’s performance). Western brands such as Volvo, BMW through its local partner BMW Brilliance, Daimler and GM mostly gave up market share to Chinese-produced vehicles.
Twenty new EV models entered the Chinese EV market in the first half of 2017 but only three, the BAIC EC180, SAIC Roewe eRX5 and BYD Song DM, made it to the Top 10 list of electric vehicles in China. None of last years Top 5 could hang on to their positions with two of the new models, the BAIC EC180 and SAIC Roewe eRX5, entering the market with Top 5 positions within three months from being launched. Last year’s Top 3 EVs, the BYD Tang, BAIC E200, and BYD Qin all crashed out, with the BYD Tang the only model able to hold on to a Top 10 position. Plug-in Hybrid vehicles could only muster three positions in the Top 20 as small city EVs made up more than half of the units sold in 2017 to date. The popular SUV class accounted for 26% of the units sold in the Top 20 list of EVs in China while plug-in hybrids only accounted for 16% of all the EVs sold. New electric vehicle models made up 31% of all the EVs sold during the period under review.
BYD’s ailing fortunes are clear in the list of losers for the first half of 2017 but another popular EV brand from 2016, Kandi, saw diminishing sales as its Kandi K17 Cyclone could not compete with the host of new small city cars entering the Chinese EV market. Clear again is the composition of plug-in hybrids and foreign brands in the list of the worst performing electric cars.
Plug-in hybrid models are losing the battle in China, strange though that 35% of the new models launched in the last 12 months are PHEVs. In the comparable period in 2016 plug-in electric vehicles made up 33% of all the units sold while the vehicle type only contributed to 16% of all sales in 2017.
The highlights for Norwegian electric car sales in H1 2017 was:
We saw very big changes in the Top 3 electric vehicle brands in Norway with only VW Group retaining its Top position, albeit with lower sales in its mass-market VW brand. Japanese automakers, Mitsubishi and Nissan were pushed from the Top 3 by German luxury automakers BMW and Daimler. Tesla sales also surpassed that of Mitsubishi and Nissan, with a strong performance by the Tesla Model X more than offsetting the slide in Tesla Model S sales. Tesla now commands over 11% of the total EV market in Norway.
French automakers Renault, Peugeot and Citroën gave up positions to their peers as Hyundai and GM entered the market with the new Ioniq and Opel Ampera-e (Bolt EV) mass-market EVs. It is disappointing that first movers such as the PSA Group grew too comfortable supplying the same models for the past 5 years without preparing a response to longer range mass-market vehicles. Toyota has not achieved the same stellar sales in Norway with the new Toyota Prius as it did in some of its other markets.
The Top 10 gainers in sales growth over 2016 were mostly plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEV) while the top selling vehicles by units were mostly battery electric vehicles (BEV). The BMW i3 rose a healthy eight positions and ate into the sales of the VW e-Golf, VW e-Up, VW Golf GTE, Audi A3 e-tron, and Nissan Leaf. Norway is now the second best market, after the USA, for the German manufactured BMW i3 accounting for 8% of all electric vehicles on the country’s roads. The Tesla Model X performed very well, helping Tesla to nearly double its sales in Norway. The rise of the Model X, now the best performing luxury EV in Norway, came at the expense of the BMW X5 xDrive and Mitsubishi Outlander. Luxury brands Daimler and BMW‘s large selection of PHEV models performed well in Norway with the Mercedes GLC350e helping Daimler to be the leader in the luxury class over BMW. It is only Daimler’s lack of an answer to the BMW i3 that kept the automaker in the third spot overall.
The VW brand sold 1,540 units less than last year across the VW Golf GTE, VW e-Golf, and VW e-Up models. The VW Group lost nearly 2,000 units in total if one should factor in the sales loss from the Audi A3 e-tron. The biggest overall loser was the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV which sold 1,040 units less than the same period in 2016. The Tesla Model S is following the same trend as we see in many other countries, losing 31% or selling 388 units less than last year.
Pure electric vehicles (BEVs) extended their lead over plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEV) to 20.6% from 17.3% in H1 2016 despite having fewer models to offer. A total of 14,753 BEVs sold in the first-half of 2017 in Norway compared to 12,231 PHEVs. For our calculation, we included the BMW i3 REx as a BEV since we don’t have an accurate breakdown of BMW i3 sales between the BEV and range extended version.
The highlights for USA electric car sales in H1 2017 was:
There are no surprises in the Top 3 EV brands with Tesla holding on to its lead over GM due to a 24% rise in Tesla Model X sales. GM could not dethrone Tesla even with a new model, the mass-market Chevrolet Bolt EV up its sleeve. Improved sales in the 2nd Quarter from the Ford Fusion Energi and C-Max Energi helped the brand retain its third position fighting off the strong performance of Toyota with the new Toyota Prius which was placed third at the end of the first quarter.
Most brands showed improved sales growth over the first half of the year with only Ford, Volvo, and Mitsubishi showing declining sales. The Volkswagen Group showed a declining trend as the year progressed and mustered the lowest growth. The declining fortunes of the German automaker can be attributed to the Volkswagen e-Golf not being able to compete on range with the new mass-market Chevrolet Bolt being sold in the same price bracket. Chrysler showed the highest growth after Toyota buoyed by the new Chrysler Pacifica and great specials on its compliance car, the Fiat 500e. The results might have been better for the US automaker, but the Chrysler Pacifica launch was delayed and then impacted by recalls and plant closure due to battery problems.
Most of the existing models showed growth lower than the overall growth due to the big number of new models to the market. Surprisingly the Ford Focus and Fiat pure electric models outperformed the market showing that the public is becoming more comfortable with range issues and the continuously improving charging infrastructure is starting to have and effect on top of the financial incentives making EVs appealing.
European plug-in vehicles were the biggest losers in this half of 2017 with a number of the luxury PHEV models losing big. Volvo and BMW saw some of their relatively new models losing steam. Both the BMW x5 xDrive and Volvo XC90 T8, released in 2016, lost market share in favor of the Tesla Model X. The Tesla Model S sales have flatlined although it remained the top selling BEV model. It will be interesting to see how the new Daimler Smart ForTwo ED fares in the second half of 2017. The German automaker is relaunching the brand as electric only in the USA and Canada from this summer and will offer a slightly improved model at a marginally reduced $23,800 starting price before incentives.
Battery electric vehicles are still maintaining its lead over plug-in hybrids albeit at a lower margin. BEVs took six positions in the Top 10 EV sales for the USA in the first half of 2017. The ever increasing number of plug-in models benefits the technology in the short term as it competes with only a handful of pure electric models. The Plug-in hybrid category benefited mostly from the release of the new Toyota Prius and to a lesser extend the Chrysler Pacifica. The Tesla Models X and S constitute nearly 44% of all BEV models showing the company’s dominance in the sector. The commanding position will improve even more with the release of the Model 3 in the second half of 2017 which might add about 40,000 units depending on the production ramp-up. The release of the Tesla Model 3 and new Nissan Leaf, expected by the end of the year, should help pure electric vehicles outperform the more dirty plug-in hybrids in the second half.
Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Co. Ltd (BAIC) is 60% owned by the Chinese Government. BAIC spun its electric vehicle business into a separate unit, Beijing Electric Vehicle Company (BJEV). The company raised $460mln in and IPO for its Electric Vehicle unit, drawing investors such as LE Holdings, the Chinese company with ties to Faraday Future and LeAuto. The BJEV factory is situated in Caiyu, Daxing, Beijing. The vehicle bodies are welded in Zhuzhou Hunan province. BJEV has launched its new range of EV’s, called Arcfox. BJEV unveiled its first concept vehicles for the Arcfox sub-brand in 2016 which comprised of the tiny open top SUV, the Arcfox-1 and the performance model the Arcfox-7 which is based on the Formula E platform of the NextEV Racing team.
BAIC was founded in September 2010 and tried to acquire the intellectual property rights of GM unit, SAAB Automobile’s in 2009 for $200m but failed. The German company, Daimler AG, acquired a 12% shareholding in BAIC during November 2013. BAIC produces some of the best-selling electric vehicles in the country, the E150/160/200 series, the EU260, and EC180 which is the top seller for 2017. The Daimler influence is clear in the design of the new BAIC EU260 model, which looks similar to the Mercedes C series.
BAIC BJEV was one of the first automakers to qualify for an electric vehicle production certificate from the Chinese Government in 2016 as part of the Chinese New Energy Vehicle Program to regulate the EV sector.
BAIC BJEV is now in its third generation of EV technology and is the best-selling electric vehicle auto company in China. The company announced an aggressive five-year plan in 2016 whereby it aims to sell 500,000 per annum by 2020. At the end of 2015, the company was the fourth largest EV manufacturer in the world and has since improved its performance with a 156% jump in sales in 2016, putting it ahead of BYD. The company is planning the launch of the Arcfox 1 in 2017 followed by other pure electric models the BAIC Senova EX260 SUV and BAIC EH300. 2018 will see the release of BAIC EH300L SUV EV and EX400L SUV.
Click through to the BAIC’s page on wattEV2Buy to explore the past, present and future EV models by the Chinese automaker.
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The recent Chinese Auditor General’s report on the Central Governments budget for the implementation of its New Energy Vehicles (NEVs) program has delivered some mixed results. The State’s Auditing Administration found some disturbing results from its inspection of 66 companies producing new energy vehicles including passenger vehicles, buses, and commercial vehicles. One has to ask yourself how successful has the program been when finding that 2,200 vehicles out of 35,500 produced by 13 companies were left unsold for a period of longer than a year? How successful has the program been to alleviate pollution in cities if 17,200 of the 35,500 traveled less than 3,000km (1,875 miles) in a year?
The program to promote NEVs was established in 2010 to form part of China’s 12th 5-year plan running from 2011 to 2015. The program had a budget of RMB 100 billion ($14.4 Billion) which included the promotion of EVs through subsidies, development of a charging network, and manufacturing incentives. In 2016 the country cracked down on the rampant abuse of the system by handing down fines totaling $150 million and closing five of the worst offenders. In total, the Audit Administration’s report found, that subsidies to the tune of RMB 1.67 Billion ($240 million) were overpaid due to cheating, which is nearly half the entire budget of eight provincial funds.
The Minister of Industry and Information Technology was quoted in January 2017 that China aims to quadruple its NEV fleet to 2 million units by 2020 and have one in five cars as EVs by 2025, which is expected to be 7 million EVs. The report found that in some cases the subsidies might have been too effective in targeting the development of NEVs. In a sample of around 6,800 units from 13 companies, it was found that more than half was buses, which received subsidies of 70% of the units sales price or higher, skewing the intended outcome away from passenger vehicles.
In January 2017 the Government cracked down on the sector by capping the total subsidies available at the Local Government level at 50% of that of the Central Government, dropping the NEV subsidy by 20% effective 1 January 2017, and raising the technology threshold of distance per charge and energy consumption. The new subsidy at Central Government level is now 44,000 yuan ($6,333) for EVs with a range greater than 250km (156 miles), down from 60,000 yuan ($8,600). The subsidy for buses was capped at 300,000 yuan (43,000) down from 500,000 yuan ($72,000). The sudden crackdown led to a crash in NEV sales for January 2017 of below 8,000 units compared to a full year total for 2016 of around 500,000 units. The sector has since recovered but is not expected to reach the stellar growth that it needs to outpace 2016 by double digits.
Other headline figures from the Auditor’s report shows that 45% of EV makers sold less than 500 models per year, which is a justification for the country implementing a production certificate system. The permitting of automakers to produce EVs have reached its current limit of 15 production certificates when JAC received authorisation for its 100,000 units per annum plant.
On the positive side, the Auditor found that Chinese automakers are starting to dominate the world market for electric vehicles as three, BYD, Geely, and BAIC rank in the top ten by EV sales list. Auto parts companies such as CATL, a battery manufacturer, and Jing-Jin Electric, a manufacturer of drivetrains for EVs have become internationally known for their products.
Going forward the Chinese Government is changing tact from a carrot and stick approach by promoting NEVs through subsidies and regulation to relying more on the stick by introducing more stringent NEV quotas on auto manufacturers from 2018. The Chinese authorities had a visit in June 2017 from the California Resource Board, to co-operate on the proposed Chinese ZEV quotas. The Californian Resource Board was responsible for the state’s much hailed Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) framework. The proposed Chinese ZEV quotas are set to require auto manufacturers to have ZEV’s contribute 8% of their sales in 2018 and increase annually by 2% to reach 12% in 2020.
Picture: Workers assemble new-energy cars at a workshop of Weidong New-Energy Car Co Ltd in Zouping, Shandong province. [Photo/China Daily]
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The latest auto brand coming from China, Traum Auto from the Zotye stable, was officially launched on the 27th of June 2017. The company is registered as Traum New Energy Automobile and will be headquartered in Hebei Province. The new Chinese auto brand will use Zotye’s Chongqing plant for its vehicle production. Traum is the German word for “Dream” and judging from the pace of growth in the Chinese auto sector the Chinese Dream is to have a vehicle, more particularly an SUV.
The new Zotye brand is focussed on the aspirational youth segment in the fast-growing Chinese economy. Most automakers globally struggle to attract the younger generation to show interest in owning vehicles as mobility trends change. In the USA only around 20% of the youth in a 2012 survey showed any interest at all in getting a drivers license. In the Japan Toyota discontinuing its youth brand Scion at the end of 2016.
Traum Auto, very much like another newcomer Yudo Auto, is zooming in on the SUV segment as it plans to release eight SUVs in the next three years and only one sedan or hatch vehicle. Other than Yudo which will only produce electric vehicles, Traum will produce vehicles with an original design and advanced power plants over the whole spectrum of HYBRID, PHEV and BEV technologies leveraging on Zotye’s knowhow. The company targets efficiencies for its hybrid vehicles of 4liter/100km and plug-in hybrids of 2l/100km and BEV with a range of 550km (340 miles).
Traum Auto aims to develop connected car’s packed with the latest technologies and will kick off with a five and seven seater SUV as early as November this year.
Being in step with its target market Traum Auto will use new sales channels to distribute its vehicles. China has embraced e-commerce and other Chinese automakers such as Geely has already switched to online delivery channels away from the physical dealership model. China’s most popular city EV, the Geely Zhi Dou D2 EV is sold exclusively through experience centers, Geely’s Tmall.com store and new energy vehicle online platform Diandong.com. Traum Auto will, however, must have some physical presence close to its clients as it is still tied to regular servicing of combustion engines.
Traum Auto has named Song Jia as its CEO and gained the skills of Benedek Toth as its designer. Benedek Toth worked as Senior Designer at Mercedes-Benz’s RDNA Advanced Design in California. Do you see the Mercedes connection in the Traum models rendered below? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section.
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Thunder Power Holdings is a Hong Kong-based start-up hailing from Taiwan. The brand was officially launched on two occasions. The Asia Pacific brand launch was at the end of March 2017 in Hong Kong and included the signing of an agreement with the Catalan Government for the company’s European expansion. The second launch, this time for Mainland China, was held on the 23rd and 31st of May 2017 in Beijing and Shanghai.
Thunder Power have been developing EVs from 2011 and introduced its first concept vehicles, the Thunder Power Racer and Sedan in 2015 at the Frankfurt Auto Show. Production of Thunder Power electric cars is anticipated for 2018 at its assembly plant in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province China. A 10,000 sq.m prototype manufacturing facility has already been completed in the first half of 2017 on the company’s 165-acre site. When completed the plant will have a capacity of 100,000 units per annum. The plant is a joint venture with the Guangzhou municipal investment fund, the GanNan Fund. The investment from the fund is around 2.5 billion yuan and is expected to drive a total investment of 7.5 billion yuan.
The Thunder Power EV strategy is to be a global player and includes a second plant in Catalonia, Spain, where it has already opened an R&D Center for an investment of €80 million. The plant is expected to be constructed to be ready for production by 2019.
Thunder Power won two awards for design at the 2016 Mondial de l’Automobile in Paris, albeit only for its logo and stand design.
Thunder Power’s first production EV is based on its Sedan Concept. The top-end sedan, designed by Dallara in Italy, will have a range of 650km from a 125kWh battery. The entry level sedan will start with an 85kWh battery and 200kW electric motor. The 320kWh Racer has a top speed of 240km/h. Thunder Power uses NMC (Nickel Manganese Cobalt) chemistry for its battery packs.
Thunder Power has opened orders for the sedan on its website. The Sedan is priced at around $72,000 (490,000 yuan).
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It has become a trend in recent times for countries to incentivise their citizens to buy electric vehicles, some having more success than other in implementing such plans. One thing is certain, electric vehicles are here to stay. Thus we take a look at the countries who incentivise their citizens the best when it comes to buying EVs.
When compiling these rankings, we looked at specific criteria such as the how well the subsidiary plan is implemented, how well the plan promotes EV sales as well as the longevity of the plan. An honorable mention to America who did not make it onto our list because of recent political question marks surrounding their commitment to sustainable energy.
The UK is not particularly known as the “greenest” country in the world, but this does not imply their unwillingness to move to a greener future. In the UK a person can get a grant towards the cost of a new electric car, van or motorcycle as long as it meets certain criteria.
Firstly the cost that is covered by the government includes the basic price of the vehicle, number plates, and vehicle excise duty but does not include delivery charges, first registration fee or any optional extras. According to the UK’s official website Gov.UK, citizens who buy an electric vehicle in 2017 could receive 35% of the cost of the car (up to a £4,500) depending on the model.
These vehicles are divided into categories:
In the short period, these initiatives have been implemented there has been a tremendous increase in the registration of electric vehicles in the UK.
Between 2011 and 2014 just over 25,000 electric vehicles had been sold in the UK, in the same amount of time (between 2014 and 2017) the number of units sold has increased by a factor of 4 (94,541 units by March 2017).
Electric vehicle owners are also exempt from paying the London congestion charge as of July 2013 which means EV owners in the UK are major winners compared to ICE (internal combustion engine) owners.
Germany has joined the subsidy game later than other countries on this list, but their ambitious goals have cemented them into the third spot. At the beginning of 2016, Chancellor Merkel introduced a green car subsidy up to €5000 to boost BEV and plug-in hybrid sales.
This plan was implemented as of February 2016 and includes a 40% purchase subsidy paid by the German government which means private buyers would receive the full €5000 while corporate buyers would receive up to €3000. Incentives will decrease by €500 a year till the scheme has run its course. This scheme is planned to run until 2020, and the German government hopes to have 1 million electric vehicles on their roads by that time.
According to Nissan if from now on electric car sales double every year until 2020, it is possible to achieve the goals set out by the government.
The government has set aside 1 Billion euros to implement this scheme which shows their intent to make German roads green as quickly as possible. A total of €600 million (US$678 million) is reserved for the purchase subsidies, which are expected to run until all the money is disbursed, estimated until 2019 at the latest. Another €300 million (US$339 million) are budgeted to finance the deployment of charging stations in cities and on autobahn highway stops. And another €100 million (US$113 million) would go toward purchasing electric cars for federal government fleets. The program is aimed to promote the sale of 400,000 electric vehicles. The cost of the purchase incentive is shared equally between the government and automakers.
German EV sales sky-rocketed in the first four months of 2017, increasing 82% on 2016.
#2 – Canada
Canada has booked their place in the second spot on our list with their unique approach to subsidizing electric vehicles. Canada does not have a “one size fits all” scheme like Germany that is applied to the whole of the country. Instead, they leave it up to each province to set their regulations regarding subsidizing EVs, creating a competitive environment between provinces to reduce fuel emissions. So what does this mean for an average Canadian? If you buy an EV in Ontario, you will receive a $14000 rebate, but if you walk across the provincial border to Quebec, you will only get a $3000 rebate.
The government of Ontario has by far the best subsidiaries when it comes to EV’s up to $14,000 off the purchase of an electric car( You also get up to $1,000 off the purchase and installation of a home charging station). EV owners receive a green license plate that allows them to use high-occupancy vehicle/toll (HOV/HOT) lanes when driving alone. The amount each car receives is based on four factors: 1. battery size, 2. number of passengers, 3. vehicle price (including trim) and 4. terms of the lease.
The government of Québec offers a rebate of up to $8,000 off the purchase of an electric car and 50% of the cost of buying and installing a charging station up to a maximum of $600. For more information, visit Government of Québec.
The government of British Columbia offers a rebate of up to $5,000 off a fully electric car and up to $2,500 off a plug-in hybrid electric car. For more information, visit Clean Energy Vehicles British Columbia.
Where can one start with this EV mecca, not only does Norway surpass each of the countries in EV’s per capita, they are actually in a class of their own. Just to put this into perspective, here is a chart depicting Norway’s concentration of plug-in electric cars per 1000 people:
In March 2014, Norway became the first country where over 1 in every 100 passenger cars on the road was a plug-in electric, and as of July 2016, there were 21.5 registered plug-in cars per 1,000 people. That’s 14.2 times higher than the U.S at that time.
Norway also holds the record for the highest-ever monthly market share for the plug-in electric passenger segment (achieved in January 2017) with 37.5% of new car sales. EV sales in the country have kept its momentum and powered ahead with Q1 2017 year-to-date increase of 20.03%.
How do they achieve these incredible records you ask? They aren’t even an EV-producing country. The answer is simple; the Norwegian government offers so many benefits to EV drivers that citizens would be foolish not to participate in this EV frenzy.
In Norway, all electric cars and vans are exempt from non-recurring vehicle fees, including purchase taxes, and 25% VAT on the purchase, making the purchase price of EV’s competitive with conventional cars. Also, the government approved a tax reduction for plug-in hybrids starting in July 2013. The government’s initial goal of 50,000 pure electric vehicles on Norwegian roads was reached by late April 2015. The subsidiaries were so successful they decided to extend their program till 2017, local authorities also granted EV’s the right to park free of charge and use public transport lanes. They are also planning a National Transport Plan (NTP) which lays the foundation for all new cars, buses and light commercial vehicles to have zero emissions by 2025 (this includes all-electric and hydrogen vehicles).
As of March 2016, there were 7,632 electric charge points in the country. Oslo is the country with the most charging points with 1,996 charging stations, followed by Akershus with 1,117, and Hordaland with 932. The Norwegian charging infrastructure includes 293 CHAdeMO quick charging points and 194 fast charging points at Tesla Supercharger stations.
The relatively young GAC Motors is one of China’s best-respected vehicle brands. The company has a defined EV strategy and will add three models to its EV fleet in 2017.
Guangzhou Automobile Group Co, Ltd. founded in 2005 has various Joint Ventures with large international auto manufacturers such as Toyota, Hino, and Honda. Wanxiang Group, a large auto-parts manufacturer, and owner of Karma Automotive, previously known as Fisker Automotive, is one of the founding shareholders.
GAC MOTOR established its New Energy division at the end of 2015. The division focused on developing its R&D and production to penetrate the growing Chinese market for EV’s. The New Energy strategy is supported by GAC Group’s “1513” new-energy development strategy which makes the development of an R & D platform, R & D of core technologies a key development direction for its products.
GAC has international ambitions and aims to establish sales and service networks in 14 countries, including North America, Africa, South and Eastern Europe and South East Asia. GAC has reaped the rewards of creating a world-class vehicle brand and sold more than 380,000 vehicles in 2016, compared to around 194,000 the previous year, and has achieved 80 percent compound annual growth rate from 2011 to 2016. The company expects to sell 500,000 cars in 2017 and plans to produce 1 million cars in 2020. The Group targets 200,000 new energy vehicles in 2020 and meeting fuel consumption targets of 5.0L/100Km over its model range. In 2016 GAC Trumpchi delivered a total of 3,378 units of its GA5 PHEV model, an increase of 167% on 2015.
To support its strategy, Guangzhou Automobile Group passed two resolutions impacting EV development at its Board of Directors meeting on June 5th, 2017.
GAC Motors are also pursuing other electric mobility solutions. In February 2016, Guangzhou Lixin Taxi Company owned by GAC Access launched more than 200 Levin twin-engine HEVs into Guangzhou taxi market. Also, GAC Group fully mobilizes the creativity of various business sectors and is actively devoted to new energy and energy conservation and environmental protection. GAC Motors and BYD established a JV in 2015 to co-operate in EV development. As a result, the company launched 400 pure electric buses produced by GAC BYD New Energy Bus Co., Ltd. into Guangzhou public transport system to provide services for citizens. The JV company is 51% owned by GAC and has a registered capital of 300m RMB.
Click through to the GAC Motors page on wattEV2Buy to explore the past, present and future EV models by the Chinese automaker.
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On the 1st of June 2017, VW and JAC signed a joint venture agreement to develop mass market electric vehicles in China. The agreement received the political support of both the German and Chinese Governments as it was signed in the presence of Chancellor Angela Merkel and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. Although the agreement was negotiated over a period of time it is significant that it was signed on the same day that Donald Trump took the USA out of the climate accord agreed in Paris 2015 in a move alienating the USA from the rest of the world.
VW and JAC will each hold 50% in the JV enterprise to develop, produce and market electric vehicles and mobility services with a key focus on mass market EVs over a 25 year period. The JV has already received a production certificate for 100,000 units last week as required by new Chinese regulations created in 2016 to regulate the EV sector. The value of the prospective 100,000 unit plant is set at $740million. VW has been operating in China since 1984 through partnerships with FAW, SAIC, and JAC and plans to deliver 400,000 electric vehicles to the Chinese market in 2020 and 1.5 million electric vehicles in 2025 as part of its electric vehicle strategy, named “TOGETHER – Strategy 2025”. It is planned that the new joint venture with JAC should produce its first jointly developed electric vehicle in 2018. The terms of the partnership according to a VW press release is as follows:
The agreement provides for the construction of a further factory as well as a research and development center. The joint venture also includes the development and production of components for new energy vehicles (NEV), the development of vehicle connectivity and automotive data services. In addition, it is intended that the joint venture should establish new used vehicle platforms and engage in all related business activities.
JAC Motors, China’s 10th largest auto manufacturer is a state-owned enterprise officially know as Anhui Jianghuai Automobile Co. Ltd and situated in Hefei, Anhui Province, close the larger Chery Auto. JAC Motors crafted its strategy for the electric vehicle segment, named “The Pure Electric Vehicle Development Plan” in 2002, making JAC an early mover in China and one of the most popular brands. In 2012 the company held the Top 1 position in China and thereby gaining the Top 3 place globally. At 2016 the company sold 22,000 new energy vehicles, bolstering it to showcase the largest range of electric vehicles at the Beijing Auto Show in 2015. JAC has also recently partnered with Carlos Sim to build vehicles in Mexico, taking advantage from Donald Trumps isolating policies there.
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In 2012 SAAB, the failed Swedish vehicle manufacturer was acquired by a group of Chinese shareholders and rebranded as NATIONAL ELECTRIC VEHICLES SWEDEN (NEVS). Now, five years later, the company is finally unveiling a concept if its much anticipated electric vehicle. NEVS had its fair share of troubles and ran into financial difficulty due to nonperforming partners. India‘s industrial giant, Mahindra and Mahindra owned a majority stake at some stage during the past five years as the company tried various financing structures.
Nonetheless, NEVS prevailed and is one of only fourteen EV manufacturers in China authorized to produce electric vehicles after receiving a production certificate for a 200,000 unit plant in January 2017. NEVS home city of Tianjin is a shareholder in the company through the municipal investment fund.
NEVS announced today that it will unveil a concept of the NEVS 9-3 EV at the upcoming CES Asia in Shanghai to be held from the 7th to 9th of June 2017 and that the production version is expected in 2018, a year later than expected. In 2016 NEVS announced that it sold 20,000 units to state aerospace company, Volinco over a three-year period starting from 2017. NEVS also announced in 2016 that it would supply 150,000 NEVS 9-3’s to Panda New Energy, a JV between go-cart producer Kandi Technologies and Geely.
NEVS also unveiled an SUV targeted at the fast growing segment in China, the NEVS 9-3X SUV Concept. Electric Vehicle watchers and consumers will be disappointed to notice that the shape and style of the NEVS 9-3 and 9-3X SUV changed very little from the earlier SAAB 9-3.
NEVS further announced that it would introduce the NEVS 9-3 EV in a pilot program with the support of the Tianjin Binhai Hi-tech Industrial Development Area (THT) in its hometown. The pilot program offers car-sharing and ride-hailing solutions in Tianjin, a city with 15 million inhabitants. The users will get access to all NEVS 9-3 EV series, but the company did not say how many NEVS 9-3 vehicles would form part of the pilot, elaborate on how the pilot will work or when it will commence.
NEVS released the following features of the NEVS 9-3 series in in press release today:
In June 2016 the Chinese authorities embarked on a program to regulate the industry that saw over 200 companies planning to produce over 50 million cars a year. Initially, the Chinese Government announced that it would only provide ten manufacturers with permits to produce electric vehicles in a bid to ensure quality and reliability to the consumer. A year later, at the end of May 2017, 14 new energy vehicle manufacturers were awarded production certificates to develop electric vehicles, with no indication what the new limit on participants is. China leads the world in terms of the size of the electric vehicle market; one would expect that it would lead to the creation of great looking automobiles, the opposite has been the norm.
China’s electric car sector is known for its ugly models, most are either bad clones of other brands, such as the Tesla Model S clone the Youxia Ranger X, or old body types of Japanese or European models with a battery thrown in, such as the 2012 Suzuki SX4 rebadged as the 2017 SD EV Yinse. Currently, most Chinese vehicle manufacturers are bringing mid-to-low end models to production, competing with Western models such as the Tesla Model 3, Chevrolet Bolt, Renault Zoe and the Nissan Leaf. A couple of Chinese manufacturers are following the Tesla model of starting with a luxury sedan or sports car and will, therefore, compete with the likes of the Rimac Concept One, Tesla Modle S or Porsche Mission-E.
Many Chinese automakers have addressed design challenges by opening design centers in Europe, mostly in Italy, world-renowned for design, especially automotive design. Some Chinese automakers own established Western brands such as Geely owning Volvo, SAIC Roewe buying MG, NEVS buying SAAB and Wanxiang buying Karma Automotive. One might, therefore, be forgiven to expect that world-class design principles would find its way into Chinese electric vehicle production. Unfortunately, the fusion between Western and Chinese design has yet to deliver eye-catching electric vehicles.
With the greater oversight, one would have hoped to be wowed with only the best electric vehicles rising to the top and receiving the coveted production permits. Let’s look at the current Chinese automakers that have been granted production certificates and see what the Chinese consumer and the rest of the world can expect.
The Chinese Government owned BAIC is one of the top-selling EV brands in China and is now into its second generation EV design with the BAIC E200, BAIC EC180, and BAIC EU260. BAIC has also created a stand-alone company for electric vehicles, BJEV and is expected to bring a new brand to light, called Arcfox. Unfortunately, BAIC’s design still looks very much like copies of other brands, take for instance the BAIC EU260 which looks very much like an older Mercedes C-Series.
Changjiang EV produces the eCool EV, also know as the FDG Yangtze EV. The company classifies the eCool as a mini-SIV, but in all honesty, it looks more like a hatchback. The eCool comes with 10-inch multi-touch HD screen providing an onboard interconnected experience and a mobile terminal. The vehicle achieved a 4-star C-NCAP measured at 50km/h impact. The hatchback comes in various funky colors, and customers can personalize their dash and seat covers, not that is does anything for the general look of the EV.
CH-Auto Technology founded in 2010, the Chinese electric vehicle manufacturer branded as Qiantu Qiche (前途汽车), meaning Future Auto in 2015. Qiantu aims to compete head-on with Tesla and unveiled the Qiantu K50 Event! as the first model in its arsenal to do so ( for all the language buffs, the ! is not a typo but part of the name). The K50 Event! is one of the more appealing Chinese EVs.
Chery Auto was honored with “Best Globalization Strategy for the year 2015” among Chinese Vehicle manufacturers. Chery is a leader in the EV sector with one of the first production cars as far back as 2008.The Chery QQ, first produced in 2015, remains one of the top 10 models in China. The QQ might be popular, but it is certainly not for its looks.
The company was founded in 2011 and opened the Jiangsu MIN’AN Automotive Research Institute in October 2015 where it develops its new energy vehicles. Min’an Auto is set to unveil its first EV in 2018. Min’an has the intent to develop three models in 2018, an SUV, rendered below, a sports car and a neighborhood electric (NEV) delivery van. Min’an suffers from the same classification issues as Changjiang EV, trying to sell a hatchback as an SUV.
Owned by Chinese auto parts company Wanxiang Group, who bought the remnants of Fisker Automotive in 2013. The company aims to manufacturer 900 Karma Revero’s in 2017. Waxiang Group was one of the first automakers to receive a production certificate allowing it to produce electric vehicles in 2016. The Karma Revero teaser below was released late 2016 and does not look a lot different than the Fisker Karma of 2012.
JMC created a new company to house its electric vehicle unit under in early 2015. The plant situated in Nanchang City has a planned production capacity of 70,000 units per year by 2020. JMC EV is planning to follow up on its first electric vehicle the E100 EV with four new models, the E200, E160, S330 SUV PHEV and E170. Th JMC E100 is one of the top 20 sellers in China. Both the E100 and E200 looks quite similar and follows the same boring lines as most of the small electric vehicles such as the Chery QQ and BAIC EC180.
The Sokon owned company received its production certificate early 2017 which allows the company to produce 50,000 EVs annually. The company has not unveiled any vehicles but have secured Tesla Co-founder, Martin Eberhard, as a consultant and acquired US-based AC Propulsion at the end of 2016. Sokon developed small commercial vehicles in partnership with Dongfeng.
National Electric Vehicles Sweden (NEVS), a Chinese-owned company, acquired the SAAB brand from bankruptcy in 2012. The company received a production permit for 200,000 units annually. The company has already signed an agreement to supply 20,000 SAAB 9-3 to Chinese Aerospace entity, Volinco. Disappointingly it seems that consumers will have to be content with getting another relic from the past as an option when it comes to buying a new EV in China.
Yudo Auto electric vehicles strategy is to produce affordable pure electric SUVs and aims to be a first-class brand in 5 years and international presence in 10 years. Yudo chose the words “creating for change” as its tagline and opened a Design Center in Milan, Italy. The company unveiled two small SUVs at the Shanghai Auto Show in April 2017 as part of its Gemini strategy. The Yudo Pi1 base model looks like a bad knockoff of the VW Tiguan, and the flagship Yudo Pi3 reminds of a Landrover Freelander of the 90’s. Let’s hope there is more “creating for change” down the line.
Know Beans (Zhi Dou), a Geely company, and yes that’s the brand’s name, develops the popular ZD D2 mini-car which is also sold under the Zotye label as the Zotye E20. The D2, produced since 205, is also a top 20 electric vehicle in China. You just know, when you look at the D2, that it hails from China. I don’t know what is worse, the brand name or the vehicle, enough said.
Henan Suda EV, also know as SD EV received permission to develop a 100,000 EV plant. SD EV offers one of this ‘Back to the Future’ opportunities, where you can buy a vehicle from 2012 as a brand new model in 2017. SD EV has two EV models ready for production. The vehicles are based on Suzuki SX4 sedan and hatch. The word Suda means to ‘Speed Up’ in Chinese while the Henan refers to the company’s home province.
Hozon received an electric vehicle production certificate allowing it to produce 50,000 units per annum. Hozon unveiled its first concept vehicle, a compact crossover named @, at the 3rd World Internet Conference in November 2016. The Hozon logo looks surprisingly similar than that of Mercedes, and the rendering of the marketing material looks like that of an old generation Buick Lacrosse, while the @ like a Tesla Model X.
GreenWheel received approval to develop a 50,000 unit plant. The company is better known for developing Neighborhood Electric Vehicles (NEV). Now that GreenWheel has qualified for EV production it aims to start production of the small crossover, named the V5, which is an electric version of the Weichai Enranger G3.
For too long the stereotype Chinese manufacturer has been known for copying rather than innovating. It is therefore disappointing to see that most of the authorized EV producers are still developing cars based on old combustion vehicles. The failure of the permitting process to identify and authorize truly innovative companies to ensure a sustainable and dominant Chinese EV sector will be negative for the whole EV sector, we need companies such as Tesla, testing the boundaries set by traditional auto manufacturers.
At the end of the day, beauty is in the eye of the beholder so I would love to hear your comments on the state of China’s electric vehicle design in the comment section below.
Interested in learning more about Chinese electric vehicles? Download our fun and easy app below, flick the China switch and swipe left the models you don’t like, right the ones you do, enter the chat rooms and share your thoughts with the community.
Recently the Chinese Government embarked on a program to clean up the electric vehicle sector which has been negatively impacted a confluence of companies rushing to produce electric vehicles lead to subsidy fraud and sub-standard products. At some point in 2016 over 200 companies had business plans to profit from the Chinese Government’s aggressive program to establish a dominant electric vehicle sector. A large number of the business operating in the sector had no previous experience in producing cars, among them were IT and Social Media companies such as Tencent (Future Mobility and Tesla), Baidu / BitAuto (NextEV) and LeEco (Faraday Future). The Chinese authorities became concerned that the unregulated development of the sector could lead to an oversupply of vehicles as the total planned capacity from the 200 companies reached over 50 million units annually, ultimately negatively impacting the sustainability of its program. At the end of 2016, the government closed or fined various manufacturers who were caught taking advantage of the subsidies to promote the adoption of electric vehicles. Further measures to regulate the industry included:
Other adjustments were made to entry applications in the auto sector by requiring joint ventures with foreign automakers, such as Denza, to be approved by the investment department of the State Council, local manufacturers need approval from the relative provincial government. The State Council indicated that in principal new capacity to combustion plants should be capped effectively halting development of new combustion plants.
At the time of publication, only fourteen companies have so far received production certificates for new energy vehicles, the last being Guangdong GreenWheel Electric Vehicle Co. Ltd which received approval to develop a 50,000 unit plant in Mingcheng Industrial Park. Greenwheel indicated that the plant would be developed at a cost of $267 million ( RMB 1.783b ). To successfully apply for a production certificate, the applicant needs to convince the authorities that it can research and develop key technologies such as powertrains. The other companies with development certificates are BAIC BJEV, Changjiang EV, Qiantu Motor, Chery New Energy, Jiangsu Minan, Wanxiang Group (Karma Automotive), JMC EV, Chongqing Jinkang, NEVS, Yudo Auto, Know Beans, SD EV, and Hozon Auto.
Up to now Chinese auto manufacturers provided very sketchy specifications on the electric range of their models, mostly indicating how far the vehicle can travel at a constant speed of 60km/h. To protect and assist the consumer the Chinese Automotive Technology and Research Center for the first time introduced an EV Test through the issue of the Chinese First Electric Vehicle Management and Evaluation Rules. The first classification process should be completed in the second half of 2017. The classification would be done by a five-star rating focusing on the following key performance areas:
The Chinese Government aggressive EV strategy targets the sale of 800,000 electric vehicles in 2017, increasing sales to two million units per annum by 2020. The top ten automakers, including FAW, Dongfeng Fengshen, Chana, SAIC, GAC Trumpchi, and Great Wall finalized production plans to produce over 4 million units by 2020 at a planned investment of $12 billion (RMB 80 billion ).
The pace of German electric vehicle sales just keeps on accelerating as the country’s April EV sales jumped 119% compared to the previous April, bringing the year-to-date increase to 82%, up from 77% in March. Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV) maintained a slight lead over Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV) with 6,843 units sold vs. 6,728. Plug-in Hybrids were, however, the leading technology for the month of April with 1,953 units sold vs. 1,587.
The Top EV brand in Germany is BMW, taking the crown from VW. The BMW i3, which kept on to its second position overall and the BMW 225xe Active Tourer accounted for nearly 80% of the German automaker’s total sales. Significant of the BMW i3 sales is that the consumer is shifting away from the i3 REx range extended PHEV, last years preferred variant, to the pure electric version. The ratio in 2016 was 474 i3 REx to 216 i3 BEV vs. 897 BEV to 551 REx now. The shift towards the pure electric version is an indication that consumers are getting more comfortable with the technology and that range anxiety is becoming less of a deterrent. Surprising is that Nissan lost a lot of ground in Germany, this was due to the fall in Nissan Leaf sales. The popular, yet dated Leaf, has been able to hold its commanding position in most other markets, so we have to ask the question if Germany is a sign of what’s to come. Nissan teased some pictures of the new Leaf, expected in 2018 this week. The VW brand was one of the other losers for the year-to-date, mostly due to falling Volkswagen Golf GTE and e-Golf sales. The new Renault Zoe Z.E. 40 was the most popular car in February and March but lost ground in April to the BMW i3, Audi A3, and Mitsubishi Outlander.
Smaller and cheaper models remained the top performers in Germany, but new models such as the Opel Ampera-e (rebadged Chevrolet Bolt), Hyundai Ionic and Mini Countryman SE ALL4 has yet to perform. In the luxury segment, Mercedes-Benz outsold Volvo, BMW, and Audi. Tesla remained the best performer in the luxury segment, maintaining its position, owning 10% of the total electric vehicle market in the country. The Toyota Prius, a top performer over the last couple of months in the USA and Japanese markets, is not yet available in the German market and it is unclear if it will be available here.
At this rate, Germany is expected to surpass its 2016 record with about four months to spare, a great achievement for the electric vehicle sector, boding well for global EV sales in 2017.
Please feel free to use the comment section below to share your thoughts on the German EV market and available models.
Now that all the Q1 data is in we can do a detailed dissection of the hottest quarter in EV history in which nearly 200,000 electric vehicles was sold. The headline data is that nearly 180,000 EVs were sold in the top 10 EV countries. Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV) outperformed Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles (PHEV) by a long shot. A total of just over 106,000 BEVs were sold while only around 70,000 PHEVs moved off the dealership floor in the top 10 countries.
One of the standout data points is USA EV sales which overtook China as the best market for electric vehicles in Q1, making the USA the top EV country in Q1. The worst performer was The Netherlands, who fell out of the top 10. The Netherlands disappointing performance over the last couple of quarters does not bode well for the European country was seen, next to Norway, as one of the proponents of the technology. Only last year still did the Dutch Government contemplated a goal to be 100% electric by the middle of the next decade. It is unclear what caused the drop in EV sales in the Netherlands.
When comparing this quarter’s EV sales by country to their respective totals for 2016 one can see that the pace of EV sales picked up in most. If one should expect that by the end of Q1 EV sales should equate to roughly 25% of 2016, it is only China and The Netherlands that are underperforming. Chinese EV sales have lagged in January due to technical factors including a clampdown on EV subsidy fraud and the annual Chinese holiday, in which most industries shut down. Chinese EV sales have picked up the pace in the following months and the quarter still ended up 30% over the same period of the previous year. It can be concluded that EV sales for the first quarter in China are historically weak and Q1 2017’s performance is by now way an indication of a trend. Furthermore, the Chinese Government last week announced a plan to dominate the electric vehicle sector which should help the country to regain its stature. Japan, on the other hand, has picked up the strongest pace and has already achieved EV sales equal to 59% of its total 2016 sales. The Japanese EV market has the least variety of EV models available to consumers, and it is anticipated that the introduction of more models will stimulate the market further. Germany is the second best performer helped by a 77% improvement in EV sales on a year-to-year basis.
The top EV brand in the Top 10 EV Countries is Tesla for the second year running. Tesla announced in its April trading update that it sold just over 25,000 Models S and X globally. It is important to note that the figure reported includes vehicles being shipped, while country sales data shows vehicles registered. Toyota is back in the Top 10 list of EV brands on the back of a well-received new Toyota Prius. Chevrolet did not shoot the lights out with its new mass-market EV, the Chevrolet Bolt / Opel Ampera-e. Most of GM’s sales came from the Chevrolet Volt PHEV. The company is criticized for producing a limited amount of the Bolt and is being labeled as a compliance company for that, a term used for auto manufacturers that only sell EVs in Zero Emission states to gain credits. The big losers included VW, BYD, and Mitsubishi. BYD has been the Top EV manufacturer for 2015 and 2016 globally and was at the number three position for most EVs sold since the start of the decade. Competition from the likes of BAIC and SAIC is the main reason for the companies bad performance. Up til 2016, BYD had the advantage of being first to market, but some new models that can compete on performance and quality with BYD entered the market since 2016. (This sentence could very well be used for Tesla in a couple of years). Mitsubishi fell a staggering ten places as the company has not updated its popular Outlander PHEV or introduced new models as a replacement.
The Top 10 EV models are still lead by the Nissan Leaf, a phenomenal performance by the 7-year-old EV. The Toyota Prius replaced the Tesla Model S in the top two while the Tesla Model X performed the best of the 2016 Top 10 cohort. Newcomers Chevrolet Bolt, BAIC E-180, and the Toyota Prius replaced the BYD e6, BYD Tang and Mitsubishi Outlander in the Top 10 EV models list for Q1.
Please use the comment section below to share your thoughts on the EV market.
Note on data: The detailed data above does not include the UK, who keeps their EV data more secret than Donald Trump does classified information.
The Chinese Government released its long-term development plan for the automotive sector on the 25th of April 2017, setting out the China EV strategy. The plan, presented by the Ministries of Science and Technology and Ministry of Industry and Information Technology in conjunction with National Development and Reform Commission, sets out how the country will ramp up the local EV sector and dominate the world market.
If successful the Chinese auto sector can leapfrog the dominance of the big auto companies, such as Toyota, VW, BMW, Daimler, Ford, and GM. Big Auto has missed the boat on electric vehicles and therefore continue to downplay the technology as only a niche sector. Management boards of big auto companies are flip-flopping strategy as they try and come to grips with how to enter the market and to what extent they should invest in research in technology. BMW last week announced that EVs constituted 3% of its total sales for the first quarter of 2017 after a jump in EV sales of 50% (Top 5 EV News Week 18). With the release of the data, the company set out how it will introduce more models. The news from BMW is in stark contrast from news only six months earlier when the Board grappled with if it should pursue EVs at all (Top 5 EV News Week 49 2016). In the USA we have recently seen how newcomer Tesla is valued above Ford and GM by investors. The response by Big Auto and other detractors of EVs was that this is a temporary phenomenon, arguing that Tesla hardly produces one tenth of the vehicles any of the top brands does. If one look at total sales of Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs), it seems investors on the other hand value companies on their future ability to produce electric vehicles. If the same apply for Chinese brands, we can very quickly expect a Chinese brand to ascend the list of top auto brands.
According to the plan by the Chinese Government, it set a short-term target of EV sales of 2 million units locally by 2020 and at the same time elevate Chinese auto brands to be seen amongst the top ten electric vehicle brands globally. The medium term target is that EVs contribute 20% of the total annual fleet by 2025, which is a huge amount of cars. Measuring the movement in sales by brand in the table below we can already see the top Chinese EV brands, BAIC, SAIC, Geely Zhidou and JMC moving higher and two brands, BAIC and BYD in the top ten list for the first quarter 2017. Other evidence of Chinese companies investing heavily in the sector includes Chinese IT company, Tencent acquiring a significant stake in Tesla, sparking a rally in the stock.
Measures by the Chinese Government to achieve the targets above include:
China already has experience of setting itself to dominate a sector and achieving set goals. Less than a decade ago the Chinese Government plotted to dominate the PV panel market and in the process brought down the price of energy production from renewables, killing some western PV manufacturers in coal plants in the process. Already we are seeing a deluge of battery cell plants being planned by the end of the decade in China. We can, therefore, expect the same domino effect as in the energy markets, taking out auto manufacturers that were slow to embrace electric vehicles.
China, the world’s largest market for electric vehicles showed a rise in sales for the first quarter of 2017, improving on 2016 figures by 12,500 units. While March was a particularly good month, selling over 30,000 units, we wonder if the total sales of nearly 56,000 units in the first quarter will be enough for 2017 to beat the record of 350,000 set in 2016?
EV sales for 2017 kicked off rather poorly in January with a disappointingly low 7,000 units. The Chinese holiday season and the regulatory clampdown on the abuse of EV subsidies were blamed for the lackluster sales. Fortunately, sales improved as the following months saw a doubling each month on the previous, setting a very promising trend. Battery Electric Vehicles outsold Plug-In Hybrids by nearly five to one as over 44,000 BEV units were sold compared to only 9,000 PHEV models during the period.
New models were the top sellers, taking three of the top five positions in a country starved for cool looking EVs. Chinese consumers are used to being dished up a mix of inferior cars due to major international brands being forced to partner with local manufacturers. To protect their IP, the global brands produced older variants of their vehicles for the Chinese market. The situation has improved for the Chinese consumer as local producers such as BAIC, SAIC and BYD have started producing improved second generation EV models. The BAIC E180 and BAIC E260, taking the first and third positions for the quarter is a case in point of how the second generation electric vehicles are drawing more buyers to the sector.
2016’s darling, BYD is slipping in the rankings, the company, part-owned by Warren Buffet, which has been the best-selling electric vehicle brand in the world for 2015 and 2016 could only muster two-thirds of BAICs sales. More worrying for BYD is that it had five models in the market compared to BAICs three BEVs. Tesla had a respectable performance with the Model X selling 1,500 units, which is 13% of all Tesla Model X units sold internationally during Q1, accounting for 6% of the company’s total sales for the period.
In total Q1 2017 sales improved 30% on that of the same period in 2016, indicating that 2017 could even be a better year for electric vehicles, despite stricter regulation, proving that electric vehicles are entering the mainstream.
UK EV sales for the first quarter 2017 set new records, mostly on the back of Tesla sales. The quarter’s sales bring EV’s contribution up to 1.4% of the total vehicle fleet. The UK sales for Q1, traditionally the best performing quarter for UK car sales, was closely watched as a new Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) comes into play from the first of April 2017. The new VED rules apply for all vehicles except zero emission vehicles (ZEV). According to the VED, Internal Combustion Engine vehicles (ICE) will be liable for a levy of £1,550 spread over five years on all vehicles priced over £40,000.
Electric vehicle sales for March, which contributed nearly 70% of the quarter’s sales, rose a below average 7% on a year-to-year basis, lower than the 8.4% for the total new car market. Total EV sales for the quarter was around 11,900 units, some 880 units more than Q1 2016. A deeper analysis of the UK electric vehicle sales showed a significant rise of the Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) component, rising 34%, or around 800 units in March from the year before. Most of the 800 units can be attributed to Tesla’s massive sales drive, which led to a record 25,000 units being sold internationally, of which nearly 900, triple February’s sales, was sold in the UK during March 2017.
The improved performance of BEV vehicles compared to Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV), showing a decrease of 5% to just under 5,000 units, corrects a trend since 2016 which saw 3-in-4 electric vehicles in the UK being PHEV’s.
All indications are that UK EV sales will breach the 100,000 unit mark, shared by only seven other countries within the next couple of months. Recent surveys in the UK showed that most vehicle buyers are negative towards diesel vehicles due to diesel gate, a spectacular own goal by big auto and that 85% of vehicle owners now consider buying an EV, subject to them overcoming these EV related misconceptions.
The article was first posted in wattEV2Buy’s Top 5 EV News Week 14.
EV sales in Germany nearly doubled to around 10,100 units from a year ago when only 5,700 electric vehicles were sold. Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV) outsold Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV) by 10% on the back of strong sales of the new Renault Zoe Z.E. 40. The New Zoe has an NEDC range of 248mi / 400km, which is more likely an EPA (real world) range of 190mi / 300km.
The worst-performing models were the VW Golf GTE, selling over 80% less than a year ago, the VW e-Golf, selling 43% less and the BMW X5 XDrive40e losing 33% of its sales. The Nissan Leaf also underperformed, partly due to the New Renault ZOE and partly due to a new version being expected later the year.
The BMW i3 took the second position with nearly 1100 units sold, of which 62% were the BEV version, an opposite scenario as for the same period last year when 68% of all BMW i3s sold were the range extending version.
New models for the quarter includes the Opel Ampera-e (Chevy Bolt), Hyundai Ioniq Electric, Mini Countryman, BMW 530e, BMW 740e, Tesla Model X, Mercedes-Benz GLC350e and E350e. The best performers from the newcomers were the Tesla Model X, a BEV and Mercedes-Benz GLC350e, a PHEV. The worst performers were the two new BEVs, the Opel Ampera-e and Hyundai Ionic, both selling only 68 units each. The BMW 530e was the worst performing new PHEV, with only 62 units sold.
The worst performing brands were VW, Porsche, and Nissan, which incidentally were the only brands losing market share in this record breaking quarter. Of further significance is that both Porsche and VW are indigenous to Germany. Even including Audi’s sales data to that of VW and Porsche still puts the VW Group at the bottom of the list with a mediocre 2.2% growth year-on-year.
All-in-all the Q1 2017 sales data points to a record-breaking year for the German EV market, which could help it ascend from its 9th position on the list of Global EV sales by country, should UK EV sales flounder.
There were 2,250 more electric vehicles sold in Norway than during the same period in 2016, resulting in a 20.03% increase year-on-year. Norway is the darling of the EV sector and is targeting 100% EV ownership by 2025. The country is number three on the list of Top 10 EV markets, and number one the list of EV as a percentage of new vehicle registrations. The country is now officially a growth market, reaching the take-off point for the technology. EV sales in Norway as a percentage of the total fleet for the year 2016 was at a record 29.1%. The prospects for 2017 looks even better, as in January the percentage of EV’s registered achieved a record-breaking 37.5% and kept the momentum for the following two months.
Small family cars constituted four of the top 5 positions, and Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV) marginally outsold Plug-In Hybrid Vehicles (PHEVs). The BMW i3, who’s BEV variant made up the overwhelming majority of the models’ sales was the best seller for the quarter and nearly double that of the same period in 2016. The Nissan Leaf showed strong growth and was the best-selling car in March 2017. The Tesla Model X performed better than the Model S, with the Model X being the second best seller of all electric cars in March 2017. The best PHEVs were the VW Passat GTE, the Mitsubishi Outlander, and Mercedes GLC350e. Although still on the top 5 list the Mitsubishi Outlander is showing a significant decline in sales, selling only two-thirds of what it did last year. The Toyota Prius has not performed as well as in some other markets. Mirroring most other markets, the BMW x5 xDrive40e sales in Norway showed a decline, selling a third less when compared to March 2016.
At this rate, we can expect Norwegian EV sales to reach between 55,000 and 60,000 units for the year, edging closer to 50% EV penetration.
The highlights for USA electric car sales in Q1 2017 was:
There are no surprises in the Top 3 Electric Vehicle Brands as Tesla remained on top, due to increase sales of the Tesla Model X, and GM and Toyota brought new models to book. Quarter 1 2017 was the first full quarter for the Chevrolet Bolt, the world’s first mass-market car. The Chevrolet Bolt‘s performance was rather disappointing, with sales dropping from a January high. The reason can be one of two, either GM‘s slow roll-out is to blame, or most buyers are waiting for the Tesla Model 3. Toyota’s only Plug-In Hybrid (PHEV) vehicle, the Toyota Prius Premium, performed remarkably well, taking in consideration that the battery capacity and range does not offer a real advantage to its competitors.
The bad boy on the block was Ford, barely hanging on to the Top 5 list of electric cars. Were it not for Porsche’s bad performance in the VW Group; the German automaker would have unseated Ford in the Top 5. BMW dropped out of the Top 5 list as Toyota entered the list in the third position. Daimler showed commendable improvement while Hyundai and Volvo joined Ford on the losing side. Nissan still shows consistent growth with its only electric vehicle, the Nissan Leaf.
Of the new electric vehicle models that came to market in this quarter, the Toyota Prius Premium, a PHEV outperformed GM‘s Chevrolet Bolt, a BEV by nearly 30%, a disappointing performance for the first mass-market electric vehicle. Both Mercedes-Benz and BMW had two more models in this quarter compared to 2016, with the Mercedes-Benz C350e and Mercedes-Benz GLE 550e outselling the BMW 330e and BMW 740e.
The Mercedes Benz S550 PHEV, BMW i3 2017 and Tesla Model X were the best performing existing models, although for the BMW i3, its the 50% improvement in battery capacity that attributed to its increase in sales.
The Tesla Model S sales remained flat on a year-to-year basis, despite continued improvements in its software and hardware.
Sales of the Cadillac ELR fizzled out completely in anticipation of the release of the Cadillac CT6 PHEV this month. Both the Porsche Cayenne and Panamera showed big losses in sales from a year ago, impacting on total growth for the VW Group. Judging from the Ford models sales slump, it is clear the century-old automaker needs to reassess it electric vehicle strategy. The big drop in the Volvo XC90 T8 can be attributed to the challenge faced by all automakers coming late to the electric vehicle party. To enter the electric vehicle market, lagging brands alter existing models to include batteries but in the process lose performance as drivers complain about smaller fuel tanks.
Battery Electric Vehicle’s (BEV), of which nearly half is constituted by the two Tesla models, outperformed plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. Over 20,000 BEV units were sold in the first quarter of 2017 compared to just under 15,000 a year ago. Q1 2017’s 19.2% increase in sales showed a slight improvement for the technology on Q1 2016 when BEV outsold PHEV with 17%. The USA is one of the few countries where BEV vehicles outsold PHEV’s since 2016, read our blog on the Top 10 EV Markets.
In total there is 13 BEV models and 20 PHEV models available in the USA market in 2017 so far. Consumers had a choice of seven new PHEV models in Q1 2017 and one BEV compared to the same period in 2016.
New model’s coming to market in the next quarter include three plug-in hybrids, the Cadillac CT6 PHEV, BMW 530e, and the Porsche Panamera 4 E-H, while only one BEV, the Hyundai IONIQ Electric will be released, should there be no surprises from Tesla on the Model 3.
Please leave us a comment on your thoughts regarding the electric vehicle models available to the US consumer.
Tencent acquires a significant stake in Tesla. The large Chinese Internet company, with holdings in various electric vehicle companies, have acquired a significant stake in Tesla. The acquisition was made by accumulating stock over time. Tesla (TSLA) shares traded higher by around 2.2% at $276.25 in after-hour trades, bringing it closer again to the $280 all-time high resistance level.
Tencent is owned by the world’s 46th richest person, Ma Huateng of China, also know as Pony Ma. Tencent, which applications include the popular WeChat app, similar to WhatsApp, aims to leverage its tech experience in a world where connectivity and the Internet of Vehicles will drive the auto industry. The development of electric vehicle technology provides a perfect platform for tech and vehicles to meet. To this end, Tencent created a company Future Mobility and targeted an autonomous vehicle by 2020. Tencent is also a shareholder in NextEV. NextEV’s NIO brand unveiled its autonomous vision a couple of weeks back at an event in Austin Texas.
Interestingly enough, the result is that a South African company, Naspers, is now an indirect shareholder in Tesla, a company founded by native South African, Elon Musk. Naspers currently holds around a 34% shareholding in Tencent; the company made its investment in Tencent when it was a little-known start-up in 2001. At the time Naspers invested $34m for 46.5% in Tencent.
Read our related post on how disruption is drawing the world’s richest to the auto sector.
The latest survey by Venson Automotive Solutions in the UK shows that 85% of respondents from a survey in the UK are now seriously considering buying an EV. Reading between the lines, wattEV2Buy finds it significant that range is no longer the deterring factor when prospective buyers are considering buying an EV. For long most respondents to such surveys cited range as overarching reason for not buying an EV. The considerably high percentage of respondents that considers buying an EV also dispell the notion by most auto manufacturers that there is not significant demand for such vehicles. Recently in the USA, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers wrote to President Donald Trump asking him to relax emissions benchmarks forcing them to increase EV production since there is no consumer demand supporting the demand for EV’s.
When one looks at the broader results of the survey, it is clear that a lot still has to be done to educate the general public on the advantages of EV’s. The only real deterrents are the lack of charging infrastructure. As can be expected, over 80% of female respondents cited the lack of charging infrastructure as the main reason putting them off from buying an EV, while only around 50% of males feels the same. A lot is being done by various stakeholders to address the lack of charging infrastructure and this hurdle would be a thing of the past by the end of the decade.
Below is a broader list of results from the survey and wattEv2buy’s take on dispelling the misconceptions.
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Faraday Future‘s wheels are coming off due to what its founder, Jia Yeutling, is calling a “big company disease,” being a cash crunch. LeEco, the Chinese equivalent of Netflix and parent company of two EV start-ups, Faraday Future in the USA and LeSee in China, is forced to sell its Silicon Valley property, earmarked for its US headquarters. The sale, reported by Reuters, to Chinese property developer, Genzon Group, will provide the company with $260 million much-needed cash.
LeEco, now known for overpromising and massively under delivering, claimed that its premium car, the Faraday Future FF91, is a “Tesla Killer.” LeEco unveiled the FF91 “Tesla Killer” at the 2017 CES in Las Vegas along with the LeSee concept electric vehicle. While the LeSee received acclaim the launch of the FF91, on the other hand, was a real doozie. Faraday Future quickly published a highly edited version of the launch on its website, but it was too late as real events quickly went viral. See the video at this link. LeEco has also partnered with Aston Martin on the RapidE, where it will help with the development of the zero emission technology.
Faraday Future, a contradiction in terms, is scaling back all its operations in the USA, with the headcount rumored to have halved over the last couple of months. The production facility in North Las Vegas has been scaled back significantly, and although ground-breaking started late 2016, it has just remained that, as no production facilities have been erected. The company could not even pay the $21 million deposit to Aecon despite being offered $300 million by the local authorities for building the assembly plant there. The new phased construction is in line with the company’s reduced model lineup down from 7 models to 2.
The 13-year-old LeEco is financially pressed on all fronts. Rumors have also been flying that it was exciting its India operations and shares in its flagship unit, Leshi Internet Information and Technology Corp Beijing lost 25% of its value in five months. LeEco, which products include consumer electronics and cellphones, such as the LePro phone were able to raise $2.2 billion from Sunac China Holdings, a property developer. The funds are however not earmarked for LeEco‘s electric car division.
Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV), also known as pure electric vehicles, has outsold plug-in hybrid electric vehicles since the start of the decade. Intuitively one would have thought that because of the high cost of battery cells at the onset of electric vehicles that Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV’s), such as the Toyota Prius, would have been the best first step to enter the market, which the company initially did until it abandoned the technology. Traditional auto manufacturers (Big Auto) in general did not take electric vehicles seriously, leaving the task to start-ups such as Tesla to develop solutions for the consumer. In the auto industry, it is easier for new entrants to enter with new technology than compete with Big Auto, churning out engines from plants which cost has already been recovered. Thus leaving Big Auto at a disadvantage as they have to invest in research and infrastructure, playing catch up with the disruption.
The big driver’s behind the performance of BEV’s has been:
It is expected that the trend for BEV’s should remain favorable as technology and cost improvements and more automakers plan to bring BEVs to market by the end of the decade. Analyzing the Top 10 EV markets, which represent over 90% of all EVs sold, however, show the opposite. Surprisingly, at closer inspection, PHEV’s are gaining on BEV’s in the majority of the Top 10 EV markets. In our study below we compare the proportion of BEV’s to PHEV’s in the Top 10 EV markets by plotting all EV’s sold from the start of the decade to EV’s sold since 2016, when most automakers changed their electric vehicle strategies. (For more detail follow the links to the different countries for a complete breakdown of sales per model and year in that country).
Chinese BEV’s, not always the most beautiful looking cars, have performed very well since the start of the decade and even more so over our test period from 2016. There are only three PHEV’s of any value worth mentioning in China, namely the BYD Qin, BYD Tang and SAIC Roewe 550, which combined sales accounted for around 18% of all EV’s sold since the turn of the decade. 2016 for the first time saw larger sedans taking over from the micro BEV’s, with the BYD e6, BAIC EU260, and Geely Emgrand entering the Top 4 list in the country. It is clear that with aggressive government support sales for BEV’s are ever increasing in the world’s Top market for EVs.
The home of Tesla and compliance vehicles, the USA, is the second largest market for electric vehicles. Stripping out Tesla, which accounts for nearly 40% of all BEV’s sold in the country will provide a completely different picture than above, where the BEV and PHEV ratio mirrors a presidential race. Most Big Auto brands are represented in the country, and when we say country, we can be forgiven to say California, where it’s Air Resource Board developed the Zero Emission Vehicle Program, targeting 15% of all vehicles to be ZEV’s by 2025. The ZEV Program supports the adoption of BEV’s by forcing automakers to sell a certain percentage of Zero Emission Vehicles. The ZEV program has been adopted by nine other states, which in total account for around 30% of all new vehicle registrations in the USA. The result is that even automakers with no EV strategy, including Fiat Chrysler, are selling what is called “compliance vehicles,” being converted plug-in variants of existing models, such as the Fiat 500e and Chrysler Pacifica. GM has also been labeled a compliance company by some, even though it introduced the first mass-market EV, the Chevrolet Bolt. The argument against GM is that it only released the Bolt it the ZEV States while it produces an uninspiring amount of 30,000 vehicles. On the other hand, GM is supporting the fight against clean air regulations and Tesla‘s direct sales model, effectively trying to halt the progress in the EV sector.
Japan, the fourth largest of the Top 10 EV markets, with China, is one of the few countries in the Top 10 list where BEV’s are outselling PHEV’s. In the case of Japan BEV’s contributed to around 75% of all EV’s sold. The country is however not the best example of expanding BEV sales. Only three brands contribute to over 90% of the sales through four models, namely the Nissan Leaf (EV), Mitsubishi Outlander (PHEV), Mitsubishi i-Miev (EV), and Toyota Prius (PHEV), which production was halted in 2015 for re-release in 2017. No great analytical deduction can be made other than a 40% increase in Nissan Leaf sales and 50% drop in Mitsubishi Outlander sales in 2016 resulted in the shift in favor of BEV’s.
The Netherlands is a big hope for the EV sector. The country targets an 100% electric fleet by 2025. However, the data don’t really show encouragement for zero emission vehicles in a country one would have guessed would be ideal for BEV’s due to the relatively short distances within its borders ( sorry if this does not sound very Euro-centric). BEV sales have stagnated since 2013 with the Nissan Leaf and Tesla making up most of the market. The EV’s sector is dominated by PHEV’s from Volkswagen, Audi (also VW), Volvo, BMW, and Mitsubishi. The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is a big hit, cornering nearly 25% of the EV market in the Netherlands. The country also has the highest international sales of the Mercedes C350e, Volkswagen Passat GTE, Volvo XC90 T8 and V60 PHEV.
In France, the home of Renault, Citroën, Bolloré, and Peugeot is number six on the list of the Top 10 EV Markets. Here, PHEV’s have gained slightly on BEV’s but are still only 20% of all EV’s sold, while EV’s represent 1.4% of all vehicles registered in 2016. The high percentage of BEV’s is a clear indication that French automakers were more progressive in accepting electric vehicles at the turn of the decade. France also has the highest number of commercial electric vehicles, just over 15% of all EV’s, with the Renault Kangoo being the delivery vehicle of choice. France also has one of the biggest range of EV models available to the consumer, with over 50 models recorded in its official sales data.
The UK market is much more excepting of PHEV’s with the trend increasing in the last year as more models are becoming available. The UK is another strong market for the Mitsubishi Outlander, where the Japanese vehicle represents nearly 30% of all EV’s sold. The world’s seventh biggest market for EV’s is also a great offset point for Germany. UK Sales for the BMW 330e is the highest in the world and sales for the Mercedes C350e is a couple of units short of the that of the Netherlands, which has the world’s most at 5,754 units. Publicly and reliable sales data for the UK is difficult to get hold of, with only the Top 5 models available up to December 2016, making a proper analysis difficult.
It would be surprising not to see PHEV’s beating BEV’s in the world’s 8th largest market for EV’s. Germany is home to BMW, Mercedes and VW, all brands that missed the boat on electric vehicles, now trying to catch a fast train on the back of PHEV’s. The three charts above clearly show how the release of plug-in hybrid variants of existing models since 2014 helped increase the sale of electric vehicles. Like in other European markets, the consumer is spoiled for choice in Germany.
Sweden, number nine on the list of the Top 10 EV Markets and the home of Volvo also shows a big affinity for PHEV’s. The Mitsubishi Outlander again has a significant portion of the EV market, with a 25% market share of all EV’s sold. There is a significant drop between the number eight position of the Top 10 EV Markets and that of the ninth, with a 50,000 unit drop from 80,000, leaving very little to write home about. None the less Sweden commands the fourth position on the list of EV’s as a percentage of total vehicle registrations, with 3.5% of all new vehicles registered to be an EV in 2016.
Canada in many ways mirrors the USA in trends, obviously at a much smaller scale. Just five models represent nearly 75% of all EV sales in the country, being the Chevrolet Volt, Tesla Model S, Nissan Leaf, Tesla Model X and the Smart ForTwo ED. The popularity of the Smart ForTwo makes it clear why Daimler decided to only sell electric versions of the micro car in the country.
Saving the best for last. Norway, the darling of the EV sector, number three on the list of Top 10 EV markets and number one the list of EV as a percentage of new vehicle registrations. The country is now officially a growth market, reaching the take-off point for the technology, and a clear example of our thesis that PHEV’s are gaining on BEV’s. EV sales in Norway as a percentage of the total fleet for the year 2016 was at a record 29.1%. The prospects for 2017 looks even better, as in January the percentage of EV’s registered achieved a record-breaking 37.5%. At the same time, PHEV’s outsold BEV’s for the first time. Looking deeper into the data and drilling down into the model mix two things are starting to emerge, namely:
We can expect this trend to continue until there is a wider choice of BEV models for the consumer and charging infrastructure expanded. Let’s hope that this trend is not just another way for Big Auto to hijack and derail the drive to zero emission vehicles. In the meantime we should be grateful, that although not hardcore, PHEV’s still introduce new drivers to the pleasure of driving in full electric mode, thereby making them want a BEV next time they buy.
Notes on the data used for the study:
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Top 5 EV News Week 32 2020 | Cadillac Lyriq unveiled. Yet another Chinese EV startup IPO. Three new EV models launched this week.
Top 5 EV News Week 31 2020 | Successful IPO for CHJ Auto, Kandi finally enters the USA, Mitsubishi pays the cost for failing EV strategy.
Top 5 EV News Week 30 2020 | Chengdu Auto Show, Hozon Neta IPO, VW invest in China, eVito Tourer for sale
We all held our breath after the disappointing January EV’s sales from the world’s largest market in the sector. January sales were hit by a double whammy of the annual Chinese holiday season and a clamp down on subsidy fraud that plagued the Chinese EV sector, resulting in much stricter regulations by the Chinese Government.
February sales nearly tripled, with the new-comers the BAIC EC180 EV and SAIC Roewe eRX5 PHEV causing much of the stir. The SAIC Roewe SUV PHEV, introduced in the second half of 2016 is known as the Alibaba Connected Car, running Alibaba’s YunOS software, making the RX5 the world’s first internet car.
Small cars took the Top 4 positions for the month with the small hatchback BAIC EC180 outselling the rest by a long shot. The BAIC EC180, with a range of 180km at a top speed of 100km/h on a 41hp electric motor. BAIC remained the best performing brand for the year with total sales of over 5,000 units followed by SAIC Roewe.
BYD, China’s best-selling brand in 2016 with over 100,000 units from its five models, were the under performer with less than 2,500 units sold for the year-to-date. BYD is 10% owned by Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway.
BEV’s outsold PHEV by 3-to-1. Total sales in 2016 were 351,861 units, setting a huge target for the world’s largest EV market. Judging from the first two months sales, it seems difficult to breach.
Electric vehicle sales have breached the 2 million unit mark internationally in 2016, and most automakers have committed to an electric vehicle strategy, some more aggressive than others and in the minority of cases not having a strategy is also seen to be a strategy. The Top 10 Electric Vehicle Brands constitutes a good proxy to evaluate trends within the market and to determine the reason for a brand’s success or failure. Also, as we reach the halfway mark to the point where electric vehicles are expected to reach between 9% and 11% of the total vehicle fleet by 2025, a look into the Top 10 will provide guidance on the expected winners and losers as the disruptive nature of the technology takes effect.
Sales of the Top 10 Electric Vehicle Brands constitute 65% of all electric vehicle (EV’s) sales, and for the Top 10 BEV list, 85% of all pure electric or Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV’s) are from the Top 10 Brands in the segment. However, the trend on both lists is on the decline as more and more brands participate in the market. The Top 10 Brands in the pure electric space owns a bigger percentage of the market segment as BEV’s requires more specialization and greater risk. Due to the high cost of battery technology and range anxiety, most automakers excluded themselves from the pure electric segment, providing a golden opportunity for a few dedicated brands to seize the opportunity and leapfrog their competitors into the coming decade.
The following interesting point emerges when comparing the Top 10 Electric Vehicle Brands positions in 2012 with the overall standings and the latest standings in 2016:
Looking at the Top 10 Electric Vehicle Brands list when one only include Battery Electric Vehicles an entirely different picture emerges in many respects:
With EV sales rapidly climbing in 2016 and countries such as Norway now reaching EV sales of over 30% of new vehicles, owning an EV is not just an environmental requirement anymore drawing early adopters. Owning an EV’s has become cool and entering the growth phase in markets such as Norway and The Netherlands, where a couple of “Big Auto” manufacturers have opted to target the mainstream market through bringing Plug-In Hybrid versions of existing models. Many of the “Big Auto” brands are play stalling tactics by calling for the easing of emission standards or blocking Tesla’s direct sales model. Meanwhile, they are falling further and further behind in a market that is becoming ever more popular. Most of these manufacturers might be of the opinion to follow a wait and see approach, hoping that the first mover’s trips and falls due to the high risk and cost, with the intention to swoop in later with their big budgets to poach talent and ideas. We will analyze the tussle between Battery Electric Vehicles and Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles in a follow-up post.
Picture Ellon Musk: The New Yorker
The disruption caused by the threat of electric vehicles is finally hitting home. In no other week has news related to the pushback by the proxies of the affected parties been so prominent than the past week, at a time when electric vehicle sales and forecasts are surprising the market on the upside. The frantic efforts of Big Auto and Big Oil to reverse progress is right out of a scene from Godfather 3, when Michael Corleone reflected “Just When I Thought I Was Out, They Pull Me Back In.”
The efforts to block the march of electric vehicles has reached new heights as old foes Big Corn, and Big Oil agreed to work together in defending the transportation fuel sector. Reuters reports the Renewable Fuel Association (AFR) and American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) will target electric vehicle incentives to “level” the playing fields. We hope the AFR and AFPM remember all the subsidies and support they received over the years to “level” the playing fields.
The Sierra Club, a respected environmental association, reported on the drive by various States to penalize electric vehicle owners. The report speculates that the efforts, already successful in ten States and considered in a further six, is backed by the Oil Industry. The Koch Brothers, Charles, and David, who’s combined wealth of $79Bln gained from oil, making them richer than the world’s richest person, Bill Gates, funded the creation of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in 2015. ALEC’s mission is to discourage States to support electric vehicles for carbon fuel based transport. Only four States, Texas, Oregon, Vermont, and Wisconsin have been successful in blocking the attack. Penalties take the form of annual fees varying between $50 and $300 per year. Georgia, which at some point had the 2nd highest EV sales in the USA as a result of a tax incentive of $5,000, replaced the subsidy with a $200 annual fee, resulting in an 80% drop in EV sales.
In a separate effort, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers asked President Trump’s newly appointed Environmental Protection Agency Tsar, Scott Pruitt, to withdraw the Obama era agreed on 54.5MPG emissions benchmark, required by 2025. The AAM’s reasoning is that achieving the standard is too costly and that the consumer demand is not there to support such a stringent rule. Really? The obvious question one should ask AAM is how they think the consumer could demand EV’s if the supply of combustion vehicles is stuffed down their throats? Looking at the list of auto manufacturers supporting this effort, it begs the question if brands such as GM only manufacture models such as the Bolt as a compliance vehicle, a viewpoint held by many in the electric vehicle fraternity. Developing EV’s only for compliance purposes limits consumer choice and the advancement of the technology. Already GM is slated for only launching the Bolt in States where there are emission standards. The reality is that these brands have been against the technology from the start and now find themselves threatened and at a disadvantage, having to resort to delaying tactics at the cost of the environment and consumer.
In Hong Kong, a mainstay market for Tesla, the Financial Secretary in his budget announced that the 20-year-old tax incentive for first-time EV registrations would be scrapped, and the tax discount on electric vehicles be capped at around $12,500. The result is that the cost of a Tesla Model S could nearly double in price. The move is in a bid to limit overall car ownership.
Post from watteEv2Buy Top EV News Weeks 8 of 2017
The barriers to entry into auto manufacturing became ever higher over the last 100 years before the disruption caused by technological advances in electric vehicles and self-driving technology. Most of the auto brands that were around at the turn of the century have been around for 50 years or longer; the only newcomers was a spate of Chinese brands backed by the government. For an individual to reach the top 50 position on the Forbes list from vehicle manufacturing was only possible if your parents left you a trust fund with a bunch of 100-year-old stock in a big brand. In fact, the only Forbes Top 50 billionaire from the auto sector was the German’s, Herbert and Johanna Quandt who owned nearly 50% of BMW and Georg Schaeffler (Number 39 on Forbes 2016 list) who inherited the automotive parts company, Schaeffler Group. After their passing of Johanna Quandt, the children, Susanne Klatten (Number 38) and her brother Stefan Quandt (Number 48), became the beneficiaries. Mrs. Klatten invested her fortune in pharmaceuticals, helping her to gain over her brother.
Come to the turn of the century and along came Elon Musk, risking it all on a technology that has been shunned for 100 years by big auto. Being a start-up in a market controlled by a couple of dinosaurs was not easy at first, Mr. Musk had to back himself in the first couple of rounds of fundraising for the electric vehicle company, Tesla. The table below shows that Elon Musk pretty much up until late 2008 lead fundraising and loan rounds. The risk paid off as Elon Musk became by far the richest person in the US auto sector and at the time of going to press Elon Musk jumped to the 83rd position, up from 94 in the official 2016 Forbes list of the world’s richest people.
Other early billionaires in the technology include the savvy investor Warren Buffet and Vincent Bollore. Warren Buffet, the world’s 3rd richest individual through his Berkshire Hathaway, controlled company, Mid-American Energy Holdings in 2008 bought 10% in BYD, a Chinese battery company, now the world’s largest electric vehicle manufacturer. The Investment at the time was $230m. Berkshire Hathaway is also a significant minority shareholder in GM.
Vincent Bollore, France’s 10th-richest person with an estimated personal fortune of $6 billion dollars, started manufacturing batteries in his company Bollore Blue Solutions. The firm, situated in Brittany province, who’s batteries are cheaper than lithium-ion cells used in other electric cars, allows it to hold down the cost of his small vehicles.
Suddenly investing in electric vehicles became sexy. Chinese billionaires, mostly from the technology sector, were the first to climb into the auto sector, some more successful than others. The Chinese electric vehicle boom is fuelled by government incentives targeting that 8% of all new vehicles should be EV’s by 2018.
The tech billionaire and founder of BitAuto, an online vehicle sales platform, William Li started the Shanghai-based NextEV. The company raised $500M of an expected $1Bln already, sporting shareholders such as Tencent, who is also invested in Future Mobility, Hillhouse Capital, who also invested in UBER, Sequoia Capital and Joy Capital. The company invested C¥3Bln in Nanjing High-Performance Motor Plant to produce 280,000 electric vehicles per year. NextEv also signed a partnership with one of the largest Chinese auto companies, JAC Auto which will see them share technology, manufacturing, supply chain, marketing, and capital.
Tencent mentioned above is owned by the world’s 46th richest person, Ma Huateng of China, also know as Pony Ma. Tencent, which applications include the popular WeChat app, aims to leverage its tech experience in a world where connectivity and the Internet of Vehicles will drive the auto industry. The development of electric vehicle technology provides a perfect platform for tech and vehicles to meet. To this end, Tencent created a company Future Mobility and targeted an autonomous vehicle by 2020.
The Chinese billionaire, Jia Yueting, founder of LeEco which owns LeTV, the Netflix of China invested in two electric vehicle companies, LeEco, which developed the acclaimed LeSee concept vehicle and Faraday Future, developer of the disastrous FF91, unveiled at the 2017 CES. Both businesses are known for making bold statements and big ticket announcements just to be followed by press reports of cash flow and funding problems.
The Chinese internet giant, Alibaba, owned and founded by Jack Ma who is 33rd on the 2016 Forbes list, invested $160M in a fund where it partnered with SAIC, one of the largest Auto manufacturers in the China to develop internet connected cars. The first car to come from the partnership is the Roewe OS RX5, where OS stand for Operating System and using SAIC’s luxury brand Roewe as a platform. The software runs on Alibaba’s YunOS operating system. Jack Ma unveiled the car in July 2016. The Alibaba Connected Car will have its own Internet ID, not needing WiFi or GPS services, enabling it to connect and identify drivers through their smartphones and wearables. The RX5 has four cameras providing it 360° vision and is voice controlled. The vehicle’s starting price is around $15,000 or C¥100,000.
Alibaba beat other carmakers and tech companies to the finish line with the 2016 release of the RX5. In 2015 Toyota invested $1 billion in artificial intelligence research, while Apple invested $1 billion in Chinese ride-hailing app, Didi Chixing. BMW went into partnership with technology firms Mobileye and Intel, providing the automaker with operating systems and driving assistance software while Kia and Google partnered around the search engine’s Android Auto operating system.
Robin Li, number 90 on Forbes List and owner of Chinese search engine Baidu, partnered with chipmaker Nvidia in September 2016 to develop a computing platform for self-driving cars. Baidu recently received approval from the Californian Department of Motor Vehicles to test autonomous vehicles, in Google‘s back yard. Baidu also partnered with BMW on creating an autonomous car.
Now that the floodgates are open, billionaires from around the world are looking to enter the electric vehicle and self-driving sectors. The world’s fourth richest man, Carlos Slim of Mexico, announced this early this year that he would back the development of a Mexican-produced electric vehicle through his company, Giant Motors in a joint venture with Grupo Bimbo, the world’s largest bread maker. The strategy plays off in an environment where many US based automakers are contemplating bringing production back to the USA amidst President Trumps America First policy environment. Mr. Slim said the electric vehicle would be designed specifically for Mexican conditions.
Bloomberg reported that the JSW Group’s owner and Chairman and India’s 19th richest man, Sajjan Jindal, announced in Davos, Switzerland his intention to enter the Indian Electric Vehicle market by 2020. The metals tycoon expects the Indian government, like many other governments, will promote EVs once it’s more affordable.
It is clear that some of these businessmen are purely opportunistic, targeting to profit from regulation and subsidies for the promotion of electric vehicles.The majority, however, leverages their passions to bring better and more advanced options to the consumer at a much faster pace than what big auto ever moved in the last 50 years.
Although not mutually inclusive to electric vehicles, self-driving cars, deployable on combustion vehicles also, will drive the second phase of disruption in the auto sector over the next ten years. Self-driving car’s poster child is Google, owned by the 12th and 13th richest individuals in the world, Larry Page, and Sergey Brin. The company started testing it’s quirky autonomous vehicle as far back as 2009. Google recently spun the project into a standalone brand, named Waymo, meaning “a new way forward.” The company aims to partner with vehicle manufacturers instead of developing its own car. The first of such efforts was the conversion of 100 Chrysler Pacifica’s Plug-in Hybrid vehicles. Google, in many’s eyes, has lost the lead to Tesla, who’s progression was much faster and already has active Level 2 autonomy available in its production vehicles.
It will be interesting to compare the Forbes list of wealthy individuals ten years from now to one at the start of the century; we expect much more fresh faces who made their money from disrupting the auto sector. As a footnote, the lesson learned time and time again by dinosaurs in an industry are that they become too big, arrogant and slow, creating opportunities for new hungry entrants.
Picture: Source www.technewstoday.com
In a bid to fast-track its electric vehicle strategy in an effort to curb pollution, the Chinese Government has called for comments on a proposal to invite foreign automakers to manufacture in the country. Current laws are designed to protect local manufacturers by forcing foreign companies to partner with the local automakers. The Chinese Government now propose to relax these conditions for new energy vehicles, providing the likes of Tesla an opportunity to produce locally and protecting their technology by not having to share it with a local partner.
Pictured is the Zinoro 1 EV, an example of how foreign manufacturers had to operate till now in China. The BWM Brilliance Joint Venture created the Zinoro premier car brand in 2013 to deepen the localization of BMW. Zinoro assembles its vehicles at the BMW Brilliance plant in Tiexi, near Shenyang in Liaoning Province north-east China. Many other manufacturers flooded the Chinese market with old technology to protect their intellectual property, hurting the consumer in the process, in a bid to just tow line in terms of government regulation.
Tesla voted the consumers darling in the Consumer Reports Annual Owner Satisfaction Survey with 91% Tesla owners responded with a “Definitely yes” when asked if they will buy the brand again. Second with only 84% was Porsche. The bottom quartile included brands such as Jeep, Nissan, Fiat, and Volkswagen, which dropped eight places. The survey included over 300,000 vehicles. Can the States who is refusing Tesla’s direct selling model, naysayers, and auto dealers refusing to get behind electric vehicles please respond to this? For the complete list follow the link.
This month saw the announcement of two electric vehicle only dealerships opening, one in Oregon and one in Canada. The multi-brand EVEN Electric dealerships opened in Ottawa after a successful pilot of the concept in Iceland, started in 2013. The company is in discussions for more locations in the UK, Belgium, Ireland, Canada, Panama and Norway. EVENElectric is also in partnership with EvoCharge, the charging infrastructure supplier, and Microsoft for developing software for its trading and service platform. In Portland, Drive Oregon, the organization charged to promote EV’s, are opening an EV showroom in downtown Portland. Drive Oregon received a grant of a $1M by the US Department of Energy to promote early adoption of EV’s. Both these showrooms host’s multi-brand electric vehicles with the exception of Tesla models, which is exclusively sold through its own outlets.
I always find it fascinating when speaking to people about electric cars that the ones who are the most critical have never actually driven an EV. After a week driving an electric vehicle, it feels that you step back in time having to drive a gas guzzler again. The general adoption of EV’s will follow the same path as other new energy technologies, such as PV. A decade ago people viewed solar panels as unsightly, and now having a PV system on one’s roof is identified as a sign of progress.
The inability and unwillingness of traditional motor dealerships to promote electric vehicles are creating opportunities for forward thinking entrepreneurs to open electric vehicle only dealerships. The Sierra Club’s recent Rev Up EVs report on the consumers EV purchase experience identified that traditional dealers, especially outside of California are not promoting the technology. One of the key findings were that automakers still provided higher commission structures for gas guzzlers. But the problem was not only on the manufacturer’s end. Common problems identified at the dealership level included dealers not even having EV’s on the lot, vehicles not charged and most importantly in my opinion, that the sales people were not educated on the technology. During test drives, they could not even explain to the prospective buyer how to charge the vehicle. From my experience shopping for an EV, it was clear it’s not the consumer holding back the growth of EV sales, but the dealership’s and automakers.
Sure, traditional big dealerships have strong relationships with the automakers, giving them an edge when negotiating terms and allocations, and the market will get to a point by the end of the decade where EV’s would be promoted by the auto sector. Most auto manufacturers changed their strategy by early 2016 and committed to having plug-in models constitute between 25 and 50% of their product mix between 2020 and 2025. Since purchasing a vehicle is driven in part by emotions, an auto brands marketing efforts are just important in driving sales as its technology. You can bet your bottom dollar, once regulation as we see being put in place by California and China, setting EV sales targets as a percentage of total sales, we can expect the big marketing divisions mobilise their resources to push EV’s onto the consumer.
But who would you rather trust? The dealer that just a year back told you how bad electric cars are, but now tries to sell you one at all cost due to targets from the automaker? Or the dealer that has in-depth knowledge and care about the success of the technology to secure repeat business? You will not normally see lines of customers, more associated with the launch of a new iPhone, in front of a traditional auto dealer.
Doing a back of the envelope calculation based on Even Electric’s announcement that it sold 100 vehicles in a short space of time, and due to supply constraints could not fill a further 200 orders, and we assume that it was for the period 2014/2015. If we then compare it with total EV sales for Iceland for 2014/2015 which was only around 600 vehicles. We can derive if EVENElectric had stock, they would have supplied 50% of all electric vehicles. Not bad for a startup having to compete with established dealerships.
It is clear from the state of affairs that the environment is ripe for disruption in a sector which for decades have been controlled by a few big players, secure in their complacency. Providing opportunities for entrepreneurs and businesses that truly believe in the future of electric vehicles.
wattEV2Buy in its mission to promote the adoption of EV’s have started an online classified section to promote a secondary market in EV’s and also an investment section where investees and investors of new electric vehicle technologies can meet. wattEv2buy is also developing an EV platform based on the Internet of Vehicles.
Featured Image: Interior of the Cleveland Tesla store as line filters in on Model 3 unveiling day – March 31st, 2016 – photo by Jon Jivan
Wynand studied his MBA in San Francisco where he was exposed to the fields of Service Science, Gamification and Renewables, which he combined to create wattEV2buy and the award winning web app Ekoguru. Wynand is a energy storage expert and has modeled, designed and presented various solutions utilizing lithium-ion and other electrochemical technologies. In his spare time Wynand is the author of a children’s book series and started a new project called “Career 180”.
When you bear in mind that Chinese companies alone produced in excess of 112,000 electric buses in 2015, a year-on-year increase of 315%, this is a sector which is often overlooked. We have the UK authorities looking to increase the number of electric buses on the road, the Helsinki government announcing the introduction of self-driving electric buses and now the likes of Tesla moving into areas such as electric trucks and maybe even electric buses at some point?
Over the years one of the main problems for the electric car market has been reluctance amongst many motorists to try this new mode of transport. We have seen issues such as cost, journey capacity and a lack of electric car maintenance and repair services coming to the fore to place doubt in the mind of motorists. So, as the number of electric buses continues to rise around the world surely this additional visibility will make the general public more at ease with electric cars and hopefully increase sales? (more…)
In what is perhaps the worst kept secret in the electric car industry, Apple is looking to introduce its own electric car in the short to medium term. The company has dropped a number of subtle hints regarding its interest in electric vehicles but so far there has been no official recognition that the project even exists. Historically the company has played the public relations market to a tee but many now believe the company risks been ignored by the sector and EV enthusiasts unless it is a little more forthcoming with information.
Commonly known as “Project Titan” Apple will be making use of its infamous “i” trademark when it finally launches the iCar. There have been rumours and counter rumours, lies and mistruths and all because Apple is reluctant to let anybody into the secret which is widely known throughout the industry. Over the last few months there have been rumours of high-level management changes, a slippage in timescale for the project although again we have no official confirmation or denials. (more…)
The UK electric car market is showing good momentum with just under 20,000 new plug-in registrations in the first half of 2016. This is a 31.8% increase on the same period in 2015 and more interestingly there was a 38% like for like increase in the second quarter of 2016. There is no doubt that the UK electric car market is going from strength to strength, total registrations since 2011 are nearing 70,000, and the UK government is playing its role in this growth. So, what can we expect in the future and will the UK electric car market lead the European sector?
The two most popular vehicles in the first half of 2016 were the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV and the Nissan Leaf both of which are recognised as leaders in their field. Perhaps one of the other interesting factors of late is the ever-increasing competition across the electric vehicle market which is giving consumers more choice. This increase in choice can only benefit the sector going forward and we are starting to see some of the biggest names in automobile manufacturing stepping up to the EV mark. (more…)
In a move which may surprise many people, the Chinese authorities are currently considering introducing a system similar to that in California which obliges car manufacturers to produce a set number of electric cars. This mandate will also allow those who are not able to produce electric cars in sufficient numbers to purchase “carbon credits” from their competitors. Whether manufacturing more electric cars or acquiring carbon credits this would have the same impact upon the industry going forward.
So, why is China considering this new mandate and would it be successful in the longer term?
California has been a leader in the eco-friendly transport sector for many years now having controversially introduced an array of mandates for automobile companies looking to sell in the state. In effect this was a move from state subsidised transport systems to a more businesslike approach which was described as “catalysing cleaner cars”. While the mandate certainly has its critics there is no doubt it has increased the focus on electric vehicles and eco-friendly systems to the benefit of all concerned. (more…)
If you look at the electric car market the most influential person at this moment in time has to be Elon Musk the entrepreneurial leader of Tesla Motors. This is a man who has quite literally put his own personal fortune on the line, pushed the boundaries and pushed the establishment to the point where he has made himself some significant enemies. There are obviously other leading lights in the world of electric cars but should these influential individuals grab the headlines or should the actual electric cars do more of the talking?
The sad fact is that electric car technology in its most basic form has been around for well over a century. Yes, the idea of electric cars is not new, it has been tried time and time again but only recently has it moved within reaching distance of the mass market. So, despite the fact that the technology and the ideas have been around for many years perhaps this has not been enough? (more…)
It will come as no surprise to learn that the US electric vehicle market continues to grab the headlines and rightly so. The likes of Tesla have taken this market from near obscurity just a decade ago to within touching distance of the mass market. However, while all eyes are on the US electric vehicle market, is China really the market to watch?
If you follow the financial press you will see billions upon billions of dollars invested by the US government directly and indirectly into the electric vehicle market. This tends to be by way of loans or tax breaks thereby allowing the government to take a step back leaving the “experts” to get on with the business of pushing the market. However, the business model adopted by the Chinese government is very different but could potentially see China overtake the US. (more…)
There is a growing movement in favour of banning all vehicles from city centres with the exception of those powered by electric. This is something which has been mentioned on numerous occasions by environmentally friendly groups as well as governments around the world. It is unlikely we will see any major shift in this strategy in the short term but the medium to long-term potential for adoption is high.
So, why should we even consider banning all but electric cars from city centres? What would the benefits be? (more…)
The electric car industry has perhaps had the most false dawns of any innovative industry in living memory. This is an industry which is well over 100 years old but it is only over the last few years that it has approached anywhere near the mass market. Critics will point towards the cost of producing batteries able to push range capacity well into the hundreds of miles as well as scepticism from some areas of the motoring public.
However, if you take a step back and look at the developments of late you will see an industry on the verge of the mass market, technological advances arriving much sooner than many had expected as well as enormous investment from governments around the world.
Chinese and US investment in the electric car market has been enormous over the last few years with the US government recently announcing a multibillion dollar investment in electric car battery technology. While the US government has a strategy of investing in the industry indirectly via loans and tax breaks the Chinese authorities tend to be more direct in their funding of associated companies. This has created a very interesting situation for the electric vehicle sector because these two powerhouses are now vying for the number one position in the electric car market. (more…)
The US automobile industry has in many ways been a law unto itself for decades now although young EV upstart Tesla Motors is determined to take on the might of the archaic US dealership system. While the original idea of dealership only automobile sales across the US was well-balanced, protecting consumers and independent dealerships from the might of the automobile giants, the Internet has changed the playing field. Many have tried and failed to overturn this ancient system but the outcome of a forthcoming Supreme Court battle in Utah could have significant ramifications for the future.
Dealership associations up and down the US dominate and effectively dictate the way in which automobiles are sold. Restrictive direct sales laws in states such as Texas, Connecticut, Michigan, Indiana, Utah and others have not help the development of the electric car industry. The idea behind this system was to offer consumers a local contact point for issues, enquiries, spare parts, etc and effectively outlaw long-distance selling. However, the online sales arena has had an impact upon nearly every area of business life although the automobile industry is the last one to hold out! (more…)