by Goosen Wynand | May 6, 2017 | Newsletter
#1 – USA April EV Sales continue upward trend
USA EV sales for April were released this week showed an increase of nearly 25% on a year-on-year basis, bringing the 2017 figure to 54,000 units for the year-to-date, which is 41% ahead of the 38,000 for the same period in 2016.
PHEV vehicles are gaining on the lead of BEV vehicles as Toyota Prius sales continued its upward momentum while deliveries for the Nissan Leaf and Tesla’s Models S and X slipped (hard). Sales for new models introduced through the month were a mixed bag, with the Cadillac CT6 PHV only racking up 6 units while the Chrysler Pacifica PHEV mustered 205 units after a delayed start to the year. The Chevrolet Bolt recovered nicely and Fiat had a record month with the 500e after introducing special deals. A big loser was the Mercedes C350e, dropping to only three units from a high of 210 in January.
#2 – Citroën’s EV strategy unwrapped
Citroën this week shed some light on its electric vehicle strategy. The PSA Group company plans EVs across the range starting 2020. The strategy mimics Hyundai’s strategy with the Ioniq, having an ICE, PHEV and BEV version. The approach is seen as quite expensive, but hopefully, the company gained some inside knowledge from the Citroen C-Zero, one of the first EVs of the decade.
Citroen CEO Linda Jackson was quoted by Automotive News Europe as follows – “Our strategy for electric vehicles is not to have a vehicle dedicated to electric, but to have electric across the range so that customers can choose a gasoline model or an electric model.”
Another PSA group company, DS Automobiles the luxury marque for the French automaker, this week announced that it would have an EV by 2019.
#3 – Tesla’s shares retreats after hitting our target
Tesla shares early in the week hit the target of $320 we predicted on the 3rd of April after which it came back to test the breakout when the company announced a loss of $322m for the quarter despite more than doubling revenues. Interestingly enough if you list GM, Tesla and Ford’s market cap and total units sold it seems that investors are valuing the three top brands in the USA on their EV unit sales only.
We picked up in the fine print of the release that Tesla will add a 100 retail, delivery and service locations during 2017 globally, representing a 30% increase. The company will also add 100 Tesla Ranger mobile repair trucks during the second quarter. The production of 5,000 Model 3s per week is still on track to commence in July.
#4 – California taxes ZEV owners
The California legislature this week passed a bill to increase revenues from the transport sector in a bid to cover the increased cost of maintaining road infrastructure. The Bill included an annual levy of $100 on ZEV vehicles to compensate for the fact that EV taxes can’t be recovered at the pump. Diesel and gasoline prices increased by $0.36 and $0.30 per gallon. California is home to nearly half of all EVs in the USA.
In other regulatory news this week impacting on EV growth the EU approved a joint venture between BMW, Ford, Daimler, and VW to develop a fast charging network in across the union. The companies will hold equal shares in the JV.
#5 – EVs now 3% of BMWs sales
BMW this week released its sales data for the first quarter 2017, showing that EVs now constitute 3% of its total sales as EV sales jumped 50%. The Chairman of the Board, Mr. Harald Kruger was quoted saying “We are therefore well on course to delivering more than 100,000 electrified vehicles for the first time in 2017”. The company also announced that it would start producing it iNext autonomous brand at its Dingolfing plant form 2021. Other models expected from the German automaker is the i8 Roadster PHEV (2018), a BEV Mini (2019), and a BEV X3 (2020). 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).
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by Goosen Wynand | Apr 16, 2017 | Newsletter
TOP EV NEWS #1 – UBER TO BOOST ELECTRIC VEHICLE MARKET
Increased support by ride-hailing companies such as Uber and Ola are becoming a big impetus for EV sales globally. This week Uber launched a program to incentivize many of its drivers to switch to electric vehicles. The program, driven by Uber owned leasing company, Xchange Leasing targets leasing up to 10% of all vehicles in Oregon as electric vehicles by 2019. The program follows on similar efforts in other countries by the company. In London, Uber is building a charging network to support a fleet of 150 electric vehicles, in Cape Town and Johannesburg the company deployed a fleet of BMW i3s on its uberGreen platform. UberGreen projects are also piloted in Lisbon, Madrid, and Paris. Uber is estimated to employ over a million drivers globally via its platform, a target of 10% will add a 100,000 electric vehicles, or just under 5% of the current EV fleet.
Other ride-hailing companies, such as the Softbank backed Ola in India, started to include electric vehicles in their business models. Ola CEO, Bhavish Aggarwal last week announced a pilot project for a large-scale rollout of electric vehicles. Ola’s pilot project includes thousands of EVs and a charging network. An indication of the magnitude of the project can be gleaned from a statement by Softbank Chairman, Masayoshi Son, made in December 2016, saying that Ola will roll out a million EVs over a five year period.
TOP EV NEWS #2 – CALIFORNIA TO TAX ELECTRIC VEHICLES
Various states in the USA had recently levied taxes or fees on electric vehicle owners, and more are expected to follow. The trend, which some claim to be a bid to recover investments in electric vehicle adoption and infrastructure, or due to pressure from lobby groups opposing electric vehicles. The most recent, and most surprising have been California, which will start levying a fee on electric car owners from 2020. Almost 50% of all electric vehicles in the USA is sold in California, and the state has been a big promoter for the adoption of the technology. The fee will consist of a $100 registration charge and an annual tax based on the value of the vehicle.
The fee, which the California legislature says is to fill the gap it would lose from lost gasoline taxes, in our opinion will not have a negative impact on EV sales when it is introduced in 2020. By the turn of the decade, EV prices will be very affordable, and the total cost of ownership is expected to remain below that of combustion vehicles.
TOP EV NEWS #3 – EVs AT THE NEW YORK AUTO SHOW
The New York Auto Show, from 14 April to 23 April, showcases all 30 electric vehicle models available in the state. Electric vehicles at the new York Auto Show 2017 includes the Plug-in Honda Clarity, Mercedes-Benz AMG GT Concept, and the Lucid Air, a luxury sedan which achieved an eye-watering 217mph on a recent test run.
New York recently announced a $2,000 rebate, totaling $55 million, as part of a $70 million incentive by Mayor Cuomo tp promote the adoption of electric vehicles. The state targets a goal of 40% emission reduction by 2030.
The BMW i3 was awarded the title as the World’s Best Urban Car, beating the Citroen C# and Suzuki Ignis.
TOP EV NEWS #4 – EVs AT SHANGHAI AUTO SHOW
The Shanghai Auto Show starts this week on the 21st and will run until the 28th of April. Electric vehicles at the show will include the Bentley EXP 12 Speed 6e, the Skoda Vision E-SUV Coupe, Buick Velite 5 PHEV which is based on the Bolt, the NIO EVE autonomous vision by NextEV, SAIC Roewe i6 compact, VW Concept SUV, and the Hybrid Kinetic H600. Also at the Shanghai Auto Show would be Isreali and Chery JV company Qoros, which will unveil the Qoros Model K-EV, built on the same hybrid electric powertrain as the Koenigsegg Regera supercar. Do you also find that the naming of the model is eerily similar to that of Tesla?
Volvo is also expected to unveil the Volvo XC40 at the Shanghai Auto Show, its latest PHEV SUV, which aims to compete with the Audi A3, Mercedes-Benz GLA and BMW X1.Volvo this week announced that it will produce its first electric vehicle in China, ready for the international market by 2019. Volvo is owned by Chinese automaker Geely since its acquisition from Ford in 2010. Geely last year launched a new brand, Lynk & Co, and accompanying model the Lynk & Co 01 SUV PHEV. Volvo will manufacture its new electric vehicle at the same plant as the Lynk & Co 01 SUV in southeast China. Volvo 90 and 60 series are also manufactured in China.
TOP EV NEWS #5 – APPLE TO TEST SELF-DRIVING CAR
Apple joined the growing number of companies authorized to test autonomous vehicles on California’s public roads. Tech companies have recently encroached on automakers territory, with 11 of the 21 companies on the list of permit holders authorized by the California DMV now being from the sector. Uber, a tech company, lost its permit in February 2017.
According to the permit Apple, based in Paulo Alto, is allowed to test three 2015 Lexus RX450h vehicles on public roads. According to the rules of the autonomous testing program, each vehicle should have two drivers, usually engineers, at all times in the vehicle.
It is not yet clear what Apple’s self-driving strategy is, news over the last two years have been conflicting, ranging from the company either following the Google route of not building car’s but only systems to the Tesla route, building an Apple iCar. The world’s most valuable tech company tagged its self-driving efforts as Project Titan.
by Goosen Wynand | Jan 29, 2017 | Newsletter
Off-course it is expected when Arnold Schwarzenegger buys an electric vehicle it will not be a Chevy Bolt, but damn the man knows how to get what he wants. The movie star turned politician unveiled his converted Mercedes Galant Wagen in Austria recently. The Kriesel converted G-Wagen SUV sports an 80kWh battery pack producing 482hp which accelerates the vehicle from 0 – 60mph in 5.6 seconds with an 185-mile range (296km).
The Chinese-owned NEVS, who acquired SAAB technology after the company filed for bankruptcy in 2012, announced this week that it received approval for its 200,000 unit plant in Tianjin. Earlier in 2015, the company declared that the Chinese Aerospace entity, Volinco, signed an intention to acquire 20,000 SAAB 9-3 sedans for its staff, in a transaction worth around $1 billion. The City of Tianjin is also a shareholder in National Electric Vehicles Sweden (NEVS).
Three Californian utilities put forward a $1 billion proposal to electrify the State’s transport system in a bid to reduce pollution and lower the barriers to entry for electric vehicles. The three utilities, Southern California Edison, PG&E, and SDG&E, expects the cost to be carried by customers. The proposals vary from supercharging networks to rebates and electrification projects for delivery vehicles.
Big Oil is noticing the rise of electric vehicles and is preparing themselves to profit from the sector in a move that will help the electric vehicle snowball accelerate. The Financial Times this week reported that Shell would introduce fast charging stations at various European petrol stations, while Total is similarly studying the viability of including charging stations. It seems downstream oil business has changed their tune from being deniers in 2016 to the adage of “if you can’t beat them join them.”
A barrier to the electric vehicle sector has long been auto dealers and one reason why Tesla chose a direct selling model. Now Audi, a Volkswagen company, and automaker who is also betting its future on electric vehicles told dealers to get behind the technology. Auto dealers are blocking the technology because less moving parts will lead to fewer service calls, taking away annuity income. The President of Audi America, in his keynote address to the National Automobile Dealers Association, told the audience that the industry would be entirely electric in 10 years and they have to change their business models to remain relevant.
by Goosen Wynand | Jan 22, 2017 | Newsletter
#1 – First EV to finish Dakar
An electric vehicle finished the grueling Dakar Rally in South America for the first time this week. The Acciona 100% EcoPowered rally car finished the 5,600 miles after the third attempt at the title. The team sponsored by Acciona, a Spanish Renewable Developer, has spent five years fine-tuning the vehicle which includes a 100-watt solar panel and Tesla battery pack. The Acciona 100% EcoPowered has a 200 km (125 miles) range in race conditions powering a 250kW electric motor providing 800nm of torque. The vehicle achieves a top speed of 150km/h (94mph).
#2 – More Bullionaires flock to EV sector
Bloomberg reported that the JSW Group’s owner and Chairman, 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. Although India has some large automakers such as Tata and Mahindra, which is a contender in the Formula E Series, the country is significantly lagging its neighbor China, the world’s largest EV market. India had only around 6,000 electric vehicles registered at the end of 2015.
#3 – Tesla not to blame for fatal crash
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration concluded its report on the fatal accident of a Model S in “autopilot” with a truck back in May 2016. The US NHTSA’s report exonerated the company and found no defect or reason for a recall. The agency’s findings collaborated the company’s claims at the time that the autopilot made driving safer, as it found that the crash rate of the Tesla decreased by 40% after introducing the Autopilot’s Autosteer feature.
The main conclusion of the report is:
- Driver Assist Systems “require the continual and full attention of the driver to monitor the traffic environment and be prepared to take action to avoid crashes.”
- Urges drivers to read all instructions and warnings before using the ADAS systems.
In other Tesla-related
news, the company’s share price increased 4% after a Morgan Stanley report on sales for the anticipated release of the Model 3
, putting some hurt on the big short positions entered in recent months against the company.
#4 – Panasonic extends partnership with Tesla
Panasonic announced it’s intention to extend it’s already a significant partnership with Tesla beyond just batteries, and in particular to autonomous technology such as sensors. The Japanese technology company’s strategy had changed markedly towards the auto sector after it’s initial partnership with the Tesla in the early 2000’s when the automaker was just a start-up.
#5 – EVs advancing at much greater pace than forecasted
A report just released by the Californian Air Resouces Board indicated that advancement in electric vehicle technology is happening at a much faster pace than anticipated five years back. The report highlights the efforts by Tesla and Chevrolet to bring affordable and long range vehicles to the market. The report found expanding charging networks, advancements in battery performance, decreasing cell costs, and the number of models available to the consumer as factors for the improved results. On the other hand, the Board states that not all automakers attack the challenges with the same vigor, with Honda and Fiat Chrysler named as company’s that just do the bare minimum to comply with regulations. We predict this will reflect in the various companies share prices five years from now when the next report takes the pulse of the sector.