Top 5 Electric Vehicle News Stories of Week 33 2017
TOP EV NEWS #1 – MERKEL DOUBTS AUTO COMPANIES EV INNOVATION
German Chancellor Angela Merkel this week reaffirmed her commitment to having 1 million EVs on the country’s road by 2020. In an interview with German YouTuber Lisa Sophie, Merkel reportedly said that the country has not abandoned its commitment to its one million EV goal by 2020 but that not enough was done up to now, signaling a possible ramp-up of the country’s efforts in the next two years. Merkel did not accept all of the blame for the slow pace but laid some of the responsibility on automakers which she doubts were sufficiently innovative enough to progress the technology.
Merkel will meet with local government officials on the 4th of Septemeber to discuss emission targets and indicated that around $600 million would be made available to improve urban transport infrastructure.
Although EV sales in Germany skyrocketed this year, the country so far only has just over 100,000 EVs registered. German EV sales data released this week showed that at the end of July nearly as much EVs have been sold as for the whole of 2016. EV sales in Germany are expected to continue its strong performance, supported by initiatives such as that of Nissan which announced that it would offer a scrapping bonus of EUR2000 ($2,348) for buyers converting from ICE vehicles to its Nissan Leaf or a Nissan e-NV200.
In related news, Chinese EV sales data showed a 30% rise in EV sales for the year to date over the corresponding period in 2016. It’s wattEV2buy’s forecast that China will reach its target of 2 million registered EVs by 2020, and even exceed it as more models become available in the next two years. China is already standing more than 800,000 units of which 200,000 has been registered this year alone. It is our belief that the Chinese EV market is set to reach its one million EV milestone by the end of the year, in light of historically stronger second half sales.
TOP EV NEWS #2 – INDIAN DIRTY POWER GIANT TO VENTURE INTO EV MANUFACTURING
The Indian power producer, JSW Energy, a thermal power producer with nearly 5,000 MW of capacity is set to shift its business to align itself with more sustainable energy offering. Although this strategy is adopted by most power producers JSW Energy’s shift is more radical, as it includes investing around $550 million in new businesses including the manufacturing of an electric vehicle by 2020. In an interview with the Hindu BusinessLine, JSW Energy’s CEO admitted that the company is venturing into a new competitive space but that it bets on the growth in the vehicle sector in India due to the expected disruption by EVs. The company is set to work with technical partners and have a 60% local content goal.
TOP EV NEWS #3 – EVs BOOSTED BY ADVANCEMENT IN TECHNOLOGIES THIS WEEK
As the rush to EVs starts to accelerate auto part companies are investing more and more in the development of new technologies, helping to advance electric vehicles. The Korean auto part company, Hyundai Mobis, this week announced that its the first South Korean company to develop a bi-directional on-board charger (OBC) for vehicle-to-grid (V2G) applications. Industry commentators have been quick to claim EVs V2G capability as a key attribute of the technology, but to date, no production vehicle comes equipped with the application as a standard feature. A contributing factor for the slow adoption of V2G technology is the slow development of software to optimise the charging / depleting of batteries so that drivers are not left stranded due to supplying the grid with power.
Other technology advancements unveiled this week include the German auto parts company, Continental, introducing a new lightweight wheel and braking concept for EVs. In a press release by the company highlighted the technology as follows:
- A new division between wheel and axle: Continental presents the New Wheel Concept, which optimizes the braking system specifically of the electric vehicle (EV).
- The design enables the use of a large aluminum brake disk and solves the problem of bad braking performance due to corroded brake disks.
- The dual New Wheel Concept also reduces the weight of the wheel and brake and reduces service costs due to a lifetime brake disk and an easy brake pad change.
TOP EV NEWS #4 – MORE EV DELIVERY VEHICLES
As the push for cleaner cities drives the EV revolution forward, we are seeing more and more electric delivery vans entering the marketplace. Gone are the days of an EV delivery van being associated with the defunct Azure Connect or the small Renault Twizy Cargo which hardly had enough space or range to cover the average daily distance for delivery vehicles of 65 miles. The past month has seen the introduction of production versions of the Daimler Fuso E-Cell and the new Renault Kangoo ZE. This week two more delivery vehicles made the front pages. Ford and Deutsche Post subsidiary, Street Scooter, this week introduced its first jointly produced E-Van, the StreetScooter Work XL in Cologne. The Work XL is based on the Ford Transit Van and has a load capacity of 20 cubic meters, a modular battery system that could be sized from 30kWh to 90kWh for a range of between 80km and 200km. The 22kW onboard charger allows for an average charging time of three hours. Each WORK XL could save around five tonnes of CO2 and 1,900 liters of diesel fuel each year. StreetScooter will assemble around 150 units by the end of 2017 at its Aachen plant and ramp up to 2,500 units by the end of 2018. The Deutsche Post DHL Group is the largest operator of electric vehicles in Germany with a fleet of 3,000 StreetScooter Work and Work L vans and 10,500 pedelecs.
In the US, Chinese owned and Californian based EV start-up, Chanje, announced that it would introduce its first medium size fully electric delivery vehicle, the V8070 by the end of the year. The V8070, below on the right, has a 100-mile range with a 6,000lbs payload and 7.2kW onboard charger. Chanje has raised funding of $1 billion from various partners including Hong Kong-based FDG Electric Vehicles Limited which manufacturers the Yangtze EV in China.
TOP EV NEWS #5 – NEWS FROM THE AUTONOMOUS VEHICLE SECTOR
As the race for electric vehicles hots up so it does for autonomous vehicles as car makers try and regain the edge it lost in the EV sector to tech start-ups. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), dead-last in the EV race, this week joined the BMW Intel self-driving car alliance as the company gears-up to produce self-driving cars by 2021. The BMW led alliance also includes Intel’s recently acquired Israeli tech company, Mobileye, Delphi Automotive, and Continental. Together the alliance will have 140 self-driving test vehicles on the roads by the end of 2017. Interestingly enough FCA is also a partner with Google’s Waymo where it developed and deployed autonomous Chrysler Pacifica minivans.
The Michigan Economic Development Corp funded American Center for Mobility announced that it will start operating its autonomous vehicle testing ground in December 2017. The converted Willow Run facility, first used for airplane testing, is a two-and a half-mile highway test loop. Michigan, which has been one of the pro-active states in self-driving development invested around $110 million in the conversion and expects to develop a second facility by 2019 to represent urban driving conditions.
US Chipmaker, NVIDIA, which led the push into autonomous technologies ahead of its competitor Intel, this week announced its investment in two-year old Chinese self-driving truck start-up TuSimple. The undisclosed investment by NVIDIA was part of $20 million funding round led by Sina, the Chinese Social Media company. TuSimple recently completed a Level 4 autonomous trip from San Diego to Yuma, Arizona.