Top 5 Electric Vehicle News Stories of Week 32 2018
TOP EV NEWS #1 – NEW LUXURY EV BRAND LAUNCHED
FAW owned EV start-up SiTech launched its luxury electric vehicle brand Gyon (Grow Your Own Niche) in Los Angeles on the 8th of August. At the same time, the EV start-up signed a co-operation agreement with design house Gaffoglio Family Metalcrafters (GFMI). GFMI designed cars include the Maybach 6 convertible and the Mercedes-Benz AMG Vision Gran Turismo.
GYON’s management team includes industry heavyweights such as co-founder and president Joe Chao, a former executive of Chrysler Group former global president and Daimler Chrysler executive Tom Lasorda.
GYON (歌昂) plans to release nine new models over the next eight years. The EV startup will develop its EVs on two platforms covering sedan’s SUVs, crossovers and station wagons in the A and B segment.
The Chinese auto company aims for technology advances in electric drivetrains and autonomous systems including charging capabilities of 80% in 10 minutes and fully charged in 15 minutes to compete with combustion vehicles. The Gyon EV is equipped with self-driving capabilities based on the G-OS intelligent vehicle operating system. GYON plans sell 400,000 vehicles in the next 10 years starting with an A-class model in 2020. For more info on GYONs proposed vehicle architecture follow click here.
GYON is based in Chengdu where it also entered into a strategic cooperation agreement with the Municipal government which includes capital. The city of Chengdu is aiming to be an autonomous electric hub and to date has constructed more than 5,000 charging stations to foster the adoption of EVs in its 700,000 per annum car market.
TOP EV NEWS #2 – FINAL TESTING OF FIRST SOLAR EV
Reuters reported that Sono finalized testing of the Sion Solar EV this summer in Bavaria. Data released by the crowdfunded start-up shows that the Sion can gain an extra 29km (18miles) over a 24 hour period from its 1.02kW solar system. The energy generated through the viSono System is “banked” and added to the vehicles range the next day. Sono will release the Sion in the second half of 2019 in Europe. According to the company’s website, it already has over 6,600 pre-orders. The Sion will be produced by a to be named contract manufacturer. For pricing and specifications of the Sono Sion EV click here.
TOP EV NEWS #3 – MOBILITY RE-IMAGINED
The most exciting advantage brought by EV technology for me is the ability to re-imagine the car and mobility. The electric vehicle drivetrain is much smaller than a combustion engine and the batteries can be embedded in the vehicle structure such as the floor allowing vehicle developers to break free from the mold and come up with new groundbreaking designs. One such example is the German start-up iEV which launched its crowdfunding campaign this week to bring the iEV X and iEV X+ to market in May 2019.
The iEV X is designed around a Flexible Robotic Platform where the size and capacity of the vehicle increases/decreases in a few seconds while being fully robotic. The four-wheel iEV X Series can drive in motorbike or mobility line and is 6 to 7 times smaller than a car in part due to its fully retractable mirrors. Charging of the iEV is completely automatic and requires no plug-in if you take the robotics charging option. The company does not specify the cost of the installation of the system at your home or office. The iEV also comes with a solar charging system in the roof. For price and specifications of the iEV X click here.
TOP EV NEWS #4 – BYD E-BUS PERFORMANCE QUESTIONED
The capabilities of BYD’s electric buses came into question this week. The Sunday Times newspaper reported that councilors of the City of Cape where told this week that BYD’s buses were incapable of handling many of the city’s inclines. The South African city ordered Africa’s first 11 electric buses in 2015 via a tender process. The tender required buses with a range of 200km, top speed of 60km/h and able to manage a 4% gradient. The tender process is also being investigated for allegations of corruption involving the mayor. The BYD buses came at a price tag of around $9 million. BYD, in an email to Sunday Times, refuted the claims but the buses remain grounded as the city goes through a budgeting process for additional funds to increase the power of the motors.
Images of BYD’s latest electric vehicle were exposed this week. The new BYD EV is based on the E-Seed Concept unveiled at the Beijing Auto Show in April 2018. The new electric car is expected to be named either as the Yan or Xia which BYD recently registered.
BYD released its monthly EV sales this week reporting a record month on the back of sales for its two new models, The compact pure electric Yuan EV360 SUV, and large SUV the Tang plug-in hybrid SUV. BYD sales for July contributed to 25% of the total EV sales for the month.
TOP EV NEWS #5 – RELUCTANT PRODUCERS PREPARES FOR CHINA ZEV PROGRAM
Some auto manufacturers are being forced against their will to commit to an electric vehicle strategy while others had to change their strategies mid-stride as the Chinese Government’s zero emission vehicle program kicks off in al earnest in 2019. The Chinese ZEV program requires that sales of new energy vehicles be 8% of its total fleet from 2019 scaling to 12% in 2020. As automakers plan to comply with these targets most have plans to launch electrified models specifically for the Chinese market, shortchanging consumers in the rest of the world.
Toyota which strategy is more focused on fuel cell vehicles will start renovating its Tianjin plant at the cost of $263 million in September 2018. After its completion in March 2019, the plant will have a capacity of 110,000 PHEVs and 10,000 BEVs per annum. The Tianjin assembly line is Toyota’s only EV plant in China. Toyota plans to bring 2 PHEVs to market in 2019, a Corolla and Levin and a pure electric C-HR in 2020.
Nissan scored big with the Nissan Leaf but failed to follow up with an aggressive push, especially in China, where the Leaf is not available. Nissan has joint venture operations with some automakers in China one being Venucia its JV with state-owned Dongfeng. Venucia planned to bring the E30 EV, a replica of the Leaf, to market in 2015 but eventually did not. Dongfeng launched its “DFL Green Program 2022” this week and plans to bring 20 EVs to market by 2022. As part of the plan it announced that Venucia will launch three new EVs in China by next year including a sedan and SUV.
Ford changed its EV strategy mid-stride in 2017 when a shareholder revolt resulted in a changing of the guard. Ford now plans to use the rush to EVs in China to boost its ailing fortunes by partnering with its JV partners to develop EVs in the country. Ford and JMC are reportedly working on an entry-level crossover, the Ford Territory which will be available in three powertrains which include a plug-in hybrid version. Ford’s lack of a clear EV strategy in 2017 contributed to the company experiencing month on month sales declines this year as its competitors provided an ever-increasing amount of electrified options to consumers. The Ford Territory will compete with EVs such as the BAIC EX series, Changan CS15, Yudo π 1 Pro, and Chery Tiggo 3xe.