Top 5 Electric Vehicle News Stories of Week 46 2017

Top 5 Electric Vehicle News Stories of Week 46 2017

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The Chinese Governments aggressive program to support (enforce) the adoption of electric vehicles, or new energy vehicles (NEVs) as its locally known, is paying dividends. With the implementation of strict EV production and sales targets approaching in 2019 various companies, such as GM have in the last couple of months announced China-specific EV plans. The latest international automaker to announced its China EV strategy is the VW Group, who this week announced the investment of €10 billion ($11.8 billion) up to 2025 to develop and manufacture NEVs in China. Reuters reported this week that the German automaker aims to sell 400,000 new EVs by 2020 and 1.5 million by 2025 along with its joint venture partners. The company aims to bring fifteen NEVs with a range of up to 600km to the Chinese market by 2020 and a further 25 after that. Although VW Group currently has around ten imported NEV models available in China sales of most imports except for GM and Tesla have been very slow.

Toyota also clarified its NEV plans for China this week. To date, the company only announced the introduction of two PHEV models for the Chinese market, namely the Corolla and Levin which is expected in 2018. In a press release this week Toyota announced that it would bring a new EV under its brand to China in 2020. It announced further that it would expand its Fuel Cell study in China to include commercial vehicles such as buses. Compared to Tesla, GM and VW’s plans Toyota’s seem very tame and summarises the claim by Toyota’s Chairman to German publication Der Spiegel this week. Mr. Takeshi Uchiyamada was quoted saying “Battery-powered cars with a long range are very expensive, and it takes a long time to charge them, such cars do not fit in our program.” He went further saying “Tesla is not our enemy and not our role model, I think it’s the German manufacturers that rather see Tesla as a competitor.”


Toyota-Mirai-TMEC Hydrogen Station in China

In the meantime, Bloomberg reported that the Chinese Government is considering the extension of its EV production permitting program which was created to protect the market against an oversupply of EVs. The program allowed for only 15 EV production permits of which JAC was the last to receive in May 2017. The extension of the permitting program is rumored to commence in 2018 and based on recent comments is expected to allow wholly owned subsidiaries of foreign companies to partake.


Appart from plans to produce EVs for the Chinese markets some of the major international automakers this week clarified their EV strategy for other parts of the globe.

GM CEO Mary Barra told Automotive News that the US-based company would launch its next-generation EV platform in 2021 and hope to have EV sales of one million vehicles per annum by 2026. According to Mary Barra, the company aims for at least 20 EVs and FCEVs by 2023. The next generation platform will be modular, at least 30% cheaper and have a range of over 300 miles. The improved platform will have the battery cells integrated into the architecture.

VW Group announced in a press release that it would invest €34 billion in electric and autonomous vehicles by the end of 2022 in support of its Roadmap E strategy, the most comprehensive electrification campaign in the automotive industry. The plan will kick off with the shifting of the production of combustion vehicles away from its plant in Zwickau (Saxony, Germany) to allow for the increased production of electric vehicles on its MEB platform. Group CEO Matthias Müller said “We are reinventing the car. To achieve that, we are making targeted investments to provide the necessary funds from our own resources.”

According to Roadmap E around one in four new vehicles by VW Group will be a battery-only electric vehicle by 2025, which could mean up to three million e-cars a year. The Company is planning to electrify its entire model portfolio by 2030, which is more than 300 models. To this end, VW has invited tenders for one of the largest purchasing volumes ever, with plans to spend over €50 billion on battery cells.

Toyota and Suzuki this week signed a memorandum of understanding for the introduction of EVs into India. According to the MOU Suzuki will produce EVs for the Indian market and supply some to Toyota, while Toyota will provide technical support. The MOU is signed with the backdrop of the Indian Governments “Made in India” and aggressive EV programs.


The Japanese automaker Mazda is planning to launch electric vehicles (EV) with range-extender rotary engine technology in Europe and the United States from 2019 onwards, reports Nikkei Asian Review. Rotary engine technology, which was first developed back in 1967 by Mazda, can double the range of an electric vehicle and is based on triangular rotors instead of pistons and cleaner to comply with stricter environmental laws globally. Mazda will not be the first to use rotary engines as a range extender, BMW‘s i3 REx also uses rotary technology.

Week 46 top 5 ev news


The much-anticipated launch of the Tesla Semi did not fail to impress and exceeded most expectations, it even helped Tesla’s share price jump $10, which looked more than a selling opportunity in hindsight. Elon Musk unveiled the truck with the acronym of BAMF (Bad Ass *&)%$#*) due to its insane performance when compared to conventional trucks. The market view prior to the launch was that the Tesla Semi would be able to reach a range of 300 miles on a charge, which is far short of the 500 miles announced by Elon Musk on the 16th of November. See the full specs and pictures here. Pre-orders was set at $5,000 with Walmart already announcing that it booked 15 Tesla Semi trucks.


Spicing up the launch was the new Tesla Roadster delivered from the trailer of the Tesla Semi on stage. The new Roadster is the fastest production car yet on paper with an acceleration to 60mph in just 1.9 seconds. The Roadster has a range of 620 miles from its 200kWh battery. See the full specs and pictures here.

Both the Tesla Semi and Roadster will be available from 2019.


In her presentations at the Barclays 2017, Global Automotive Conference in New York GM CEO Mary Barra gave a glimpse of GMs plans to monetize services embedded in its smart connected vehicles. According to Barra GM will launch a marketplace application in its connected vehicles which will be simpler to use than current smartphones. Like other carmakers, GM is exploring how it can gain value from its 13 million connected cars which create 3 petabytes of data per year. reported that Ford Global Technology registered a patent for an off-road autonomous driving system. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USTPO) has granted Ford a patent for an off-road autonomous driving system. This could be handy functionality while farming or hunting. I can see a hunter call his truck to get him at a location after the hunt (if there is cell connectivity).



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China halting development of new combustion plants

China halting development of new combustion plants

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China halting development of new combustion plants

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:

  • creating a list of battery manufacturers that are allowed to operate and supply technology to its electric vehicle sector,
  • regulating which automakers are allowed to produce electric vehicles in China through the issue of production certificates by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), and
  • setting Electric Vehicle Management and Evaluation Rules through the Chinese Automotive Technology and Research Center.


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:

  • Power consumption,
  • Battery life,
  • Charging,
  • Safety, and
  • Performance.

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 ).

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.

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Be warned Big Auto, the China EV strategy is to dominate!

Be warned Big Auto, the China EV strategy is to dominate!

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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, VWBMW, 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 USA-Top-10-BEV-All-time wattev2buy2016). 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.

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Measures by the Chinese Government to achieve the targets above include:

  • Financial and tax support for New Energy Vehicle (NEV) companies;
  • Making it easier for foreign companies to enter the Chinese market by improving foreign investment regulations and liberalizing the existing cap on foreign ownership stakes in joint venture enterprises;
  • Promoting R&D through incentives;
  • Subsidies to consumers through tax benefits;
  • The Chinese Government is further considering incentives for parts and components manufacturers, smart and connected cars and other fields that will help Chinese companies lead the future auto sector;
  • The Export-Import Bank of China will assist Chinese NEV companies to go global.

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.

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.

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