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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.
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“Our Strategy Number One Next is centred on consequent lightweight construction, alternative drivetrain technology, connectivity, autonomous driving functions and the interior of the future. The iNext will set the standard from 2021″
Unconfirmed online reports this week claimed that BMW would not pursue the development of the BMW i5 as its mass market answer to the Tesla Model 3, but rather follow other carmakers such as Hyundai and Citroën, by offering electric options across existing ranges so that customers can choose a gasoline model or an electric model.
The reason for the change of heart is that the cost associated with the specialized chassis systems of the i8 and i3 makes it unsuitable for high volume production. In March BMW’s reported its lowest profitability since 2010 on the back of spending on technologies to compete with its rivals in the electrification and autonomous sectors.
The following statement by Harald Kreuger this week, “The all-electric MINI and the all-electric BMW X3 will mark the beginning of the second wave of electrification for the BMW Group, benefiting from the ongoing technological progress we are making in this area.” is seen to support the reports that the company is having a rethink on its EV Next strategy.
BMW’s change of direction will set it on a different course than its competitor in the luxury car market, Daimler, which has set an aggressive strategy to develop a separate brand to establish a market lead in the e-mobility sector.
The BMW strategy now seems to focus on finding the least cost route of adding batteries to existing models to produce vehicles for consumer’s increasing appetite for electric cars. Adding batteries to combustion vehicles is seen as a cop-out as consumers will be better served by buying electric vehicles built from the ground up around the technology.
Indian based Mahindra and Mahindra this week shed some more clarity on how it aims to compete in the electric vehicle sector. The company announced that it would construct a battery plant in Chakan, Pune City in Maharashtra State which will increase the company’s battery output ten fold. Currently, the company produces only around 500 battery packs a month for its e2O, and eVerito models from imported cells at its Bengaluru plant, the Chakan plant has a target of 5,000 units a month. The Indian company is also developing a high powered electric vehicle platform available by 2019 that is capable of speeds up to 200km/h / 125mph and a range of 350 – 400km (250 miles). The Indian government has set a lofty goal of 100% electrification of the countries vehicle fleet by 2030, but to date, the technology has failed to get any traction that can compare with its peer, China.
US-based research firm Research and Markets this week released a report indicating that they see the EV charging infrastructure market should be valued at around $45 billion by 2025. A rush by governments to encourage the adoption of electric vehicles is seen as the main driver for the uptake of the technology. The research firm also reported on the adoption trends within the charging technology sector, stating that the CHAdeMO connectors would be replaced by Combined Charging System (CCS) as the preferred connector type. The fast charger segment is said to lead over slow or home-based chargers, showing an estimated CAGR of 47.9% from 2017 to 2025.
Research firm Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) this week reported that it expects EVs to reach price parity with internal combustion vehicles (ICE) in the USA and Europe by 2025. Falling battery prices driving down cost is seen as the main reason behind the conclusion. Currently, battery prices constitute around 50% of an EVs cost, by 2020 BNEF forecast batteries to only constitute between 23% and 16% of an electric car’s total cost by 2030. The report did not compare the total cost of ownership, which is expected to favor EVs this decade already. It is unclear if the study did take into consideration regional factors such as the EU adding as much as $340 per engine on diesel engines from 2020, which should increase the cost of combustion engines.
In March the UK based Detroit Electric signed a joint venture agreement with Shanghai-listed Far East Smarter Energy Group (Smarter Energy). The JV called for the Chinese partner to invest $370 million over a four-year period. Already the JV is experiencing stress as Smarter Energy this week announced that it would transfer 40% in Detroit Electric to Far East Holding Group (Holding) to secure financing. The transaction was done at no value. Smarter Energy revealed that the financing round is taking longer than anticipated and that it is struggling to secure the required production certificates from the Chinese Government to be allowed to produce electric vehicles. Up till May 2017, only fourteen such permits have been granted by the Chinese authorities. The remaining shareholding structure of the joint venture now has Detroit Electric owning 50% while Yixing Environmental Protection Science and Technology Industrial Park 10%. It is unclear how the restructuring will impact on the company’s timeline to bring the SP:01 to production by 2018.
#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.”
#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).
#1 – Peak in oil due to EVs confirmed by Big Oil
Record breaking sales in the first quarter of 2017 reaffirm the trend set by the healthy sales growth experienced in the sector during 2016. All expectations are that 2017 would even be better and that the deluge of new models reaching dealership floors by the end of the decade will sustain the growth into the next decade, causing many stakeholders to adjust their forecasts upwards. We have covered most of these forecast adjustments, but the one sector that is forever dissing the sector, Big Oil, has as recent as Week 9 2017 maintained that the disruption caused by EV’s is overstated.
Finally, this week during the Bloomberg New Energy Finance Conference voices from the sector came out signaling that EV penetration will hurt oil demand. Total SA’s Chief Energy Economist, Joel Couse, projected that the impact of electric vehicles would cause the demand for oil to flatten or even decline by 2030. The CEO of Royal Dutch Shell shared the same sentiments recently as the company trimmed their forecasts, indicating that oil demand my peak by the late 2020’s. The reasoning behind the shift in outlook is sparked by electric vehicles being able to compete with combustion vehicles in both performance and price as battery prices decline.
Michael Liebreich, the founder of Bloomberg New Energy Finance, pointed out that there would be 120 models across the spectrum by 2020. He was quoted further saying what we already know – ”These are great cars. They will make the internal combustion equivalent look old fashioned.”
Picture Source: Bloomberg New Energy Finance
#2 – VW continue to see electric vehicles only as a niche going into the next decade
The recent surge in Tesla‘s share price, which is close to the first target of $320 called by wattEV2Buy on the 3rd of April, has put a spotlight on traditional vehicle manufacturer electric vehicle strategies. VWs CEO, Mr. Matthias Müller, this week reprimanded the media for getting too carried away with the “New Beats Old” storyline. Mr. Müller was quoted by The Financial Times at the Vienna Auto Show on Friday, responding to Tesla‘s surge – “This has little to do wth the reality on our streets. The VW Group produced 10.3m vehicles last year – Tesla around 80,000, and the fact is, electric mobility continues to be niche. VW only see’s that one out of four of its vehicles would be electric by 2025.
The world’s largest automaker will spend around €20bn by 2022 on cleaner engines, of which only 45%, or €9bn, would be on alternative drive tech, which at least is a trebling over the amount of only €3bn spent over the last five years. The €9bn budget is less than the €11bn earmarked by fellow German automaker, Mercedes, over the same period. Analysts have been concerned over certain automakers conservative electric vehicle strategies in the face of Tesla and China‘s dominance in the sector.
#3 – Bollore exits the electric vehicle sector
The French industrialist, Vincent Bollore, one of the pioneers of the current electric vehicle revolution announced that he would retreat from the sector. Bollore introduced some of the first car-sharing schemes at the start of the decade, using its own vehicle the Bollore Blue Car, It created a second car, the Bollore Blue Summer, but contracted it out to Citroen, which sells it’s as the Citroen Mehari. Mr. Bollore cited that he can’t compete with only one car in the market as more and more players crowd it. Bollore will focus on its strengths, being battery technology, and will apply it in its grid storage and mass transit vehicles. Those who follows the data for France in our Global EV Sales section would have noticed that hardly any Blue Cars were sold in the country this year. Bollore uses a Lithium Metal Polymer Battery, which is not suited for cars, as the chemistry consume electricity even when off.
#4 – India to go all electric by 2030
India is set to introduce policies and support the country’s electric vehicle industry for three years as it targets to have a 100% electric fleet by 2030, in a bid to save on fuel import cost. The announcement was made by the country’s Energy Minister, Mr. Piyush Goyal at the CII Annual Session in New Delhi.
#5 – Tesla shareholder to unveil its own electric vehicle
Tencent-backed Future Mobility is set to unveil its concept vehicle this year with the intent on starting production in 2019. Tencent recently acquired a significant stake in Tesla by purchasing 5% of the US companies stock in the open market, making one wonder how it will impact on the investment with which it aims to compete. The concept vehicle is said to be a midsized SUV priced around $45,000. Chinese internet companies such as Tencent and Baidu are increasingly becoming active in the vehicle market as the bounds between cars and vehicle are falling away. Baidu introduced it’s Appollo self-driving platform last week, opening it up to developers to join in its development.
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