Top 5 Electric Vehicle News Stories of Week 26 2017

Top 5 Electric Vehicle News Stories of Week 26 2017

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TOP EV NEWS #1 – VW ANNOUNCE TWO MORE I.D. EVs

Up to now, news about VWs plans with its I.D. electric series have been sparse. The latest news on the VW I.D. strategy was about VW’s Chairman, Dr. Herbert Diess confirming the production of the I.D. Buzz. Dutch publication, Groen 7, this week provided a further glimpse of the VW strategy with the I.D EV model range which included two more models to join the three models already announced. VW will develop the I.D Lounge, an SUV and I.D AEROe, a sporty sedan exclusively for the US and Chinese markets. The I.D Lounge and I.D. AEROe will follow the I.D., I.D. Cross and I.D.Buzz models to hit the roads from 2019 to 2022. VW will produce the I.D. for the European market and the I.D. Cross for Europe and China. The market for the I.D.Buzz is yet to be defined.

All the I.D. models will be developed on VWs M.E.B platform. Golf replacement, the I.D. is expected in 2019 and promises a range of up to 600km from a 125kW electric motor. The last model in the range, the I.D. Buzz will have two electric motors with a combined output of 291kW and an acceleration of 0-100km/h in 5 seconds.

In related news the CEO of VW Group company Porsche, Mr. Oliver Blume said that half of all Porsche models would be electric by 2023. The Porsche Mission-E is expected in 2019/2020, followed by a BEV SUV Coupé. Porsche is preparing for the production of 60,000 electric vehicles per annum at its Zuffenhausen assembly plant.

SEAT, the Spanish-based VW Group brand, announced that it would develop an electric version of the high-performance Cupra model range.

Audi and German auto parts company, Schaeffler, partnered to develop a new powertrain for the ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport Formula E Race Team. The partnership will be around the development for the next three generations of the race car’s powertrain. The team has finished on the podium for the past two seasons and is again lying second in the third iteration of the ever popular event.

TOP EV NEWS #2 – VW JAC JV WILL LAUNCH EV SUV JAN 2018

The VW JAC electric vehicles joint venture signed in Berlin at the start of June 2017 officially kicked off in Hefei, Anhui Province on the 29th of June 2017. The Chinese JV company, JAC Volkswagen Automobile Co., Ltd. with an initial investment of 5.6 billion Yuan ($740 million) will deliver its first electric car in January 2018. According to reports the first EV from the JV will be a fully electric SUV.

TOP EV NEWS #3 – LeAUTO TO GET NEW LEASE ON LIFE

We have followed the Chinese “Netflix,” LeTVs, misadventures in the electric vehicle sector for the past year. LeTVs auto companies, Faraday Future in the USA and the LeEco in China, is well known for overpromising and underdelivering on its goals. The reason for the failure of the enterprises to make good on the hype created around it stems mostly from a cash crunch at the parent company, LeTV, due to it overextending itself in a wide range of projects. The founder of LeTV, Jia Yueting, had to personally jump in and save the two electric vehicles from faltering as groundbreaking of the Faraday Future ground to a halt while the launch of the FF91 at the CES 2017 flopped and the JV with Aston Martin was suspended. At the start of June, the Shenzhen Stock Exchange suspended the launch of the company’s RMB 2 billion bond which was supposed to provide cash flow to LeTV and its subsidiaries. This week Jia Yueting announced that LeTV would complete A-round financing by the end of the year to fund its vehicle projects housed under LeAuto. The funding will be used for mass production of electric vehicles. Jia Yeating stepped down recently as General Manager at LeTV and took a board position at LeAuto and FF Global. Faraday Future also clawed back some reputation this week as the FF91 prototype set a new production vehicle record at Pikes Peak.The FF91s time of 11 minutes 25.083 seconds record was 20 seconds faster than the previous record set by a modified Tesla Model S. Should the funding fails it will most probably be the end of the projects as LeTV has racked up large debts already resulting in large-scale layoffs and halting of projects.

TOP EV NEWS #4 – MAHINDRA & MAHINDRA SSANGYONG TO DEVELOP AN EV SUV

The Korean auto manufacturer, Ssangyong, 72.85% owned by Indian conglomerate Mahindra and Mahindra announced that it will produce of an electric SUV by 2020. The SUV is to be assembled at the 250,000 unit plant in Pyeongtaek South Korea. and promises a range of 300km with a top speed of 150km/h. Ssangyong earmarked 1 trillion won ($1 billion) for the development of SUVs and EVs over the next four years. The parent Mahindra & Mahindra will support the development with funds and technical assistance.

TOP EV NEWS #5 – MORE REGULATORY SUPPORT FOR EVs

The international promotion of electric vehicles got another leg up this week with the Governments of Thailand and New Zealand announcing incentives to promote the adoption of electric vehicles.

The Thai government set preferential excise duties for electric vehicles as depicted in the slide by the Tax Authority below. Electric Vehicles is one of 10 target industries in Thailand, which is an international auto manufacturing hub. The preferential rates will apply through 2025 and will extend to include EVs and ten EV parts. The ten EV components to benefit from the incentive are batteries, traction motors, battery management services, DC/DC converters, inverters, portable electric vehicle chargers, electrical circuit breakers and EV smart charging systems according to the Bangkok Post.
Thai-ev-incentives

The New Zealand legislature passed the Energy Innovation Amendment Bill to implement sections of the New Zealand Governments Electric Vehicles Program amongst other changes. The amendment comes at a time when New Zealand EV sales for May 2017 smashed records. The amendments make provision for the exemption of EVs from road charges and enabling bylaws allowing special lanes for EVs.

In related news, the US state of Nevada passed Assembly Bill 69 which authorizes the testing of autonomous vehicles on its public roads. Nevada joins an ever increasing list of States allowing for the testing of self-driving cars on public roads. States that already allows for the testing on public roads include Texas, California, Michigan and New York.

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BLOGS OF THE WEEK YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED

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Aston Martin EV strategy hits a roadblock

Aston Martin EV strategy hits a roadblock

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It was just a matter of time for the newly formed partnership, barely five months old, between LeEco and Aston Martin hit the rocks, creating a roadblock for the Aston Martin EV strategy. Although none of the two companies officially announced the breakup of the Joint Venture to develop electric vehicle technology, China Money Network recently reported the suspension of the partnership by the British luxury carmaker.

wattev2buy aston martin rapid 2The terms of the JV was for LeEco to help with the development of low emission vehicle technologies and deliver a concept car within two years. The partnership was funded by China Equity and the Chinese President oversaw the signing of the agreement. It was expected that the concept car will produce more than 1,000hp. The partnership also extended to the Rapid E 2018 model which is expected late 2017 and would have incorporated the latest LeTv Internet of the Vehicle (IOV) system. It is uncertain how the breakdown in the partnership will impact on the release of the performance saloon.

Recently we reported that LeEco, the Chinese equivalent of Netflix and parent company of two EV start-ups, Faraday Future in the USA and LeSee in China, was 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.

Both EV start-ups are known for making bold statements and big ticket announcements just to be followed by press reports of cash flow and funding problems. The announcement comes at a time when Faraday Future is battling to break ground on its plant in Northern Los Angeles. 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 13-year-old LeEco is financially pressed on all fronts and founder, Jia Yeutling, was quoted by insiders referring to the cash flow problem as a “big company disease.” 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. Faraday Future is said to hold the patents to the technology, but recent reports state that the technology is in fact held by a separate company in the Cayman Islands, creating insecurity for investors and borrowers.

One might assume that an icon such as Aston Martin also took the reputational risk in consideration when entering into a partnership with an unproven start-up, but it seems Chinese cash was the deciding factor. The partnership was concluded at a time when a number of partnerships and equity transactions between British car makers and Chinese companies were entered into. Other transactions included investments by Geely in the London Taxi Company’s EV plant at Ansy, and Shanghai-listed Far East Smarter Energy Group investing in UK-based Detroit Electric for the manufacturing of the SP:01 EV. The transactions strengthen both the UK and Chinese positions in the electric vehicle market and created over 1,400 UK jobs.

We look forward to the official announcement by Aston Martin on the state of the partnership and how it will impact the release of the long-awaited RapidE. Aston Martin as recent as December stated that LeEco’s financial woes would not impact the JV or the release of the RapidE.

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LeEco announced groundbreaking of plant in Hangzhou China

LeEco announced groundbreaking of plant in Hangzhou China

The controversial LeEco announced the groundbreaking of its plant in the city of Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province China. LeEco, owned by the Chinese Internet entertainment company LeTV founded by Chinese businessman Jia Yueting, is entwined between Faraday Future and the LeSee electric vehicle manufactured by LeEco. 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 announcement comes at a time when Faraday Future is battling to break ground on its plant in Northern Los Angeles. 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. 

Mr. Jia Yueting, struggling to keep all the balls in the air, missed the groundbreaking as he had to take over the day-to-day activities of Faraday Future in the US, just weeks prior to the unveiling of its first production vehicle. LeEco has also partnered with Aston Martin on the RapidE, where it will help with the development of the zero emission technology. Faraday Future is said to hold the patents to the electric vehicle technology, but recent reports state that the technology is in fact held by a separate company in the Cayman Islands, creating insecurity for investors and borrowers.

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