Top 5 Electric Vehicle News Stories of Week 20 2017

Top 5 Electric Vehicle News Stories of Week 20 2017

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#1 – Where to next for Tesla’s share price after Morgan Stanley downgrade?

On the third of April, I predicted that Tesla’s share price will at least reach a first target of $320 after the breakout of the resistance at $290. This week Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas, one of the pro-Tesla investment houses of late, downgraded its position to “equal-weight” from “overweight”, sending the stock down 3% and closing the week at $310.83 from a high of $325.22. The Morgan Stanley call is purely based on the Model 3 deliveries, which it now sees lower at a higher associated cash burn on R&D and Capex.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk also referred to the high share price in a telephonic interview this week with the Guardian where he was quoted saying “I do believe this market cap is higher than we have any right to deserve”. Before hitting the sell button it is important however to read Elon’s statement in the correct context, that investors price the share based on expectations not on past performance. The statement was made in a similar vein as a tweet by him in April on the topic where he responded “Tesla is absurdly overvalued if based on the past, but that’s irrelevant. A stock price represents risk-adjusted future cash flows.”

Technically I still hold out that there is more in the share price and that the count in the breakout formation at $290 in April can see the price go as high as $400, but at least $380 with a stop loss at $285. Should the stock fall through $285 look for buying opportunities again in the lower $200’s. Fundamentally, however, it all boils down to Tesla’s ability to surprise the market on Model 3 deliveries, which everyone and its dog seems to doubt. Watching the recent Ted interview of Elon Musk and listening to the Skype interview of Tom Mueller, Chief Propulsion Technology Officer at SpaceX, with a group of astronomists at the New York University Astronomy Society my money is on Tesla surprising the market on the upside, barring no technical issues arise in the new plant. Read extracts from Tom Mueller interview below and decide for yourself.

And now we have the lowest-cost, most reliable engines in the world. And it was basically because of that decision, to go to do that. So that’s one of the examples of Elon just really pushing— he always says we need to push to the limits of physics. Like, an example I’ll give is, on the car factory; you know, a car moves through a typical factory, like a Toyota or a Chevy factory; a car is moving at you know, inches per second. It’s like, much less than walking speed. And his thoughts are that the machinery, the robots that are building the car should move as fast as they can. They shouldn’t be moving so fast you can’t see them. That’s why you can’t have people in there, because they’d get crushed; people move too slow. That’s the way he thinks. “So, what are the physical limits of how fast you can make a car?” He looks at videos of like, coke cans being made, and things like that, where you can’t even see them; it’s just a blur. And, you know, the puck of aluminum, cut it up, deep-draw, fill it with coke, you put the lid on, you put the lid on it; it’s just like going down the assembly line so fast you can’t even see it. And Elon wants to do that with cars.

That’s just the way he thinks. Nobody else thinks that way. And that’s why he’s going to kill the industry; cars also. Because it’s just going to make these cars— basically, you can make, you know, ten times as many cars in the same size factory if you do it that way. And that’s, you know, the major cost of the car is not the material in the car; it’s the factory that builds the car. So that’s the way he thinks. He looks at it from first principles, like “Why does a car cost so much to make?” Well, you’ve got this gigantic piece of real estate, and all these employees in this gigantic building; and you can only make so many cars in this building. You need to make more cars in the same building with the same number of people. And that’s what they’re working on at Tesla.

#2 – NIO EP9 Shatters records set by all production car at Nürburgring

In November 2017 the NIO EP9 broke the record as the fastest Electric Vehicle around the challenging German circuit, the Nürburgring in a time of 7:05:12. The start-up brand NIO then proceeded to complete the world first autonomous lap at a speed of 160 mph around the America‘s Track in Austin Texa.  As if all these records weren’t enough the NIO EP9 this week shattered all records for production vehicles set around the around the Nürburgring. The record means electric vehicles are now officially faster than combustion based production cars. The NIO EP9 set a new lap record in a time of 6:45.90 around the 12mile long track, a full 6 seconds faster than the previous record set by the Lamborghini Huracan performance. See the video of the lap here. The weirdest thing about the lap is that the noise, or lack of it, does not give you the impression of speed but more the feeling that its a Scalextric toy race car.

#3 – Toyota still not fully behind electric vehicles

Toyota still has not completely put its full weight behind electric vehicles is it continues pursuing Hydrogen Fuel Cell (HFC) technology. The Japanese automaker this week announced that it signed a Memorandum of Understanding with ten companies to jointly develop 300 HFC stations of the next 10 years in the country. Even though Toyota pioneered the first mass-market Plug-in Hybrid the company forsook the lead it had on the technology for a hydrogen future. Last year the company admitted that electric vehicles have some relevance by creating a new division to build its first pure electric vehicle. The CEO, Akio Toyoda personally took leadership of the division but the company has not changed its strategy away from the HFC path with it sees as the relevant technology from 2025. The HFC strategy is in conflict with most recent analysis which sees electric vehicles becoming the dominant technology from 2025, some forecasts this week even says it will completely replace combustion engines.

#4 – Electrified public transport gets a leg up this week

As electric vehicles become more popular so does the application for other modes of transport. For long the Chinese automakers, such as BYD and Changjiang had the monopoly on electric buses, but this week we saw more automakers enter the segment. The challenge with electric buses, other than cars is that you need ultra fast charging of huge batteries, and these huge batteries add weight to the vehicle.To be equipped with a 256kWh battery. Two automakers outside of mainland China this week announced that they are entering the electrified bus market.

Hyundai announced that it would develop an electric bus for the local market next year. The bus is expected to be equipped with a huge 256kWh battery.

Mercedes-Benz released the following statement at the Global Public Transport Summit (GPTS) in Montreal

In parallel with the optimisation of the diesel drive system, Mercedes-Benz is working hard on the all-electric-powered and locally emission-free city bus. The all-electric Citaro is due to go into series production in the coming year – prototypes are already undergoing testing on the roads. The electrically powered Citaro will open up a new chapter in electric mobility, because Mercedes-Benz is not looking at the city bus in isolation, but as an integral part of a highly efficient transport system.

#5 – Volvo to stop developing diesel engines

Volvo‘s CEO Hakan Samuelsson this week in an interview with the German publication, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, confirmed that the Chinese-owned Swedish company would utilize the springboard offered by Tesla and focus on electric drivetrains and volov-40-wattev2buy-appstop developing volvo-40.2-wattev2buy-appdiesel engines. The company is expected to bring its first pure electric vehicle to market by 2019. The vehicle is expected to be based on one of its two Volvo 40 concepts revealed earlier this year shown here. Though it’s not decided if it would be an SUV or sedan, the electric car will be developed on the company’s new Modular Electrification Platform (MEP) and build in China. The EV will have a minimum range of 250 miles and priced around $40,000. Mr. Samuelsson acknowledges the role Tesla played in creating commercial interest for high-quality well-designed electric vehicles, an area aligned to Volvo’s strategy. Volvo just released a new improved range of diesel and petrol engines and with European regulation potentially adding as much as $340 per engine from 2020 diesel engines would just be too expensive to produce according to the CEO.

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Top 5 Electric Vehicle News Stories of Week 19 2017

Top 5 Electric Vehicle News Stories of Week 19 2017

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#1 – VW Strategy – The future is electric, long live the combustion engine

The VW shareholders this week approved the automaker’s electric vehicle strategy, “TOGETHER – Strategy 2025” and accompanying budget at the AGM held in Hamburg. Unpacking the VW CEO, Matthias Müller’s, statements the VW strategy is – “The future is electric, long live the combustion engine.

The VW board recently upped its €3bn investment in alternative drive engines from the previous five years to €9bn by 2022. The company, however, will spend €10bn on cleaner combustion engines over the same period. VW sees conventional engines to be between 10% and 15% cleaner and efficient by 2020.

Mr. Muller was quoted as saying “We intend to be the No. 1 in e-mobility by 2025”. He went further elaborating how the company will achieve its strategy. “This is how the Group will be rolling out more than 10 new electrified models by the end of 2018. By 2025, we will be adding over 30 more BEVs.” The newly-established Center of Excellence in Salzgitter will bundle Group-wide competence in battery cells and modules. “At the same time, we are conducting intensive negotiations to establish partnerships in the field of battery cells in Europe and China. You will soon be hearing more about this”, the CEO added.
According to Müller, modern internal combustion engines will nevertheless be indispensable for the foreseeable future: “This applies also and especially to the Euro 6 diesel, despite the current heated debate.” In total, the Volkswagen Group will be investing around 10 billion euros in these technologies by 2022, Müller: “The internal combustion engine primarily is part of the solution, not part of the problem.”

The German automaker decided to use partnerships as a tactic in achieving its goal. Müller referred to several examples such as the plans to enter the economy segment with Tata, the envisaged joint venture with JAC in China to develop attractively-priced electric cars, and numerous cooperation projects in the field of mobility services.

The e-mobility sector is going to become very crowded for VW as most automakers have already embarked on the same strategy. See the reference to Ford later in this week’s newsletter. Daimler has already accelerated its strategy and brought forward its $11Bln investment from 2025 to 2022 this year. read our blog of this week where we compare the Daimler and BMW strategy.

#2 – Electric MotoGP from 2019

MotoGP enthusiast with a preference for electric bikes can finally look forward to their own Formula E-type event. The MotoGP franchise this week made it official that a support class, consisting of five races would be held from 2019 onwards. The races would initially only be held in Europe, with four manufacturers supplying 18 bikes on the grid. Similar to the Formula E the racing bikes would all be the same and is expected to reach speeds of 124mph (200km/h), which is slightly slower than their combustion counterparts.

While on the topic, the Formula E, which is now in its third season will host a race in Monaco this weekend. The franchise will also host an event in Paris next week.

#3 – GAC breaks ground on $6.5 bln electric industrial park

china ev plantsChina’s Guangzhou Automobile Group (GAC), a Top 10 Chinese automaker and voted as the “2016 BEST CHINESE CAR BRAND”  in the official customer satisfaction survey broke ground on its  $700 million 200,000 EV plant. The plant which forms part of a larger $6.5 industrial park which focussed on purely on the EV sector. GAC has international ambitions for its electric vehicles and this year introduced the GE3 BEV at the North American International Auto Show. The GE3 follows on the GAC GS4 concept EV introduced in 2015 at the Guangzhou Agac-motor-plantuto Show. The GE3 is expected to be market ready by 2018. The company launched its GA3S PHEV in July 2016. The GA5 PHEV, based on the Alfa Romeo 166 came to market in 2015 and had sold around 5,000 units by the end of 2016. The GAC Trumpchi GS4 SUV EV is available since mid-2016.
Guangzhou is a city in Guangdong Province, which also includes the city of Shenzhen where EV manufacturer Denza, Changan, and Future Mobility are present. Click on our interactive map to click through to the various Chinese EV manufacturers.

#4 – Bollinger teases electric pickup

While most auto companies are trying to play catch up with Tesla, pinning their hopes on producing a luxury electric SUV. While the auto companies race to capitalize on the popular vehicle class to carve out a lead in the sector, a huge gap is open in the form of electric SUTs (Sports Utility Trucks). Now history is repeating itself with start-ups rushing to fill the gap. This week Bollinger Motors, started in 2014 in Hobart NY State USA teased the Bollinger SUT. The tease in the form of a picture of the interior cabin follows on a rendering earlier this year of the outside reflection of the pickup. The company is taking $1,000 refundable deposits to secure a SUT that could be configured to your use requirements. Bollinger plans to unveil the vehicle by July 2017. The powertrain is said to be revolutionary. Last week Workhorse unveiled its W15 concept range extended electric pickup truck. The Workhorse W-15, by the Ohio-based company with the same name, is set to sell for $52,000 and have a 60kWh (40kWh nominal rated) battery pack, promising a range of 320 miles.

#5 – Think Tank predicts 95% of miles will be shared and autonomous by 2030.

CNBC ran an article on the prediction by the US thinktank RethinkX that 95% of miles traveled will be in electric powered autonomous cars by 2030. The controversial prediction is way above that of Boston Consulting which predicted that only 25% of such trips would be in self-driving or shared vehicles. Looking at the website of Tony Seba, a co-author of the RethinkX study, “Rethinking Transportation 2020-2030: The Disruption of Transportation and the Collapse of the ICE Vehicle and Oil Industries.” the report also predicts that only 20% of Americans will own cars by 2030.
The predicted shift in mobility leads into other news this week where Ford’s CEO was challenged on his strategy for the company, resulting in its performance lagging its competitors. Mark Fields, CEO since 2014, embarked on what is the auto sector icon’s biggest strategy shift in history by investing heavily in self-driving technology. The challenge for the Ford CEO’s strategy is that he has one foot in the future and one in the present, resulting in an earnings decline of 42%.

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Tesla’s market value more than Ford, GM in it’s sights

Tesla’s market value more than Ford, GM in it’s sights

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Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) shares broke through its $280 resistance level on record sales for the first quarter 2017, leading investors to re-evaluate their outlook for the company. The results showed that Tesla could deliver above market expectations. The sentiment is supported by a decrease of vehicles in shipment, of around 1,800 units. Investors are now reconsidering the poor market guidance for the company to deliver on its Tesla Model 3 promises. The Q1 sales of 25,418 units show a growth of 12% on the previous quarter, which is a massive 69% on year-on-year basis. The Tesla Model X was the star, showing around 22% growth at 11,550 units, while the Model S sales grew by nearly 6%.

Today’s intraday share movement makes Tesla’s market value more than Ford (NYSE: F) and sees it gaining on General Motors (NYSE: GM), officially making it the number two in the sector. The electric vehicle manufacturer, which some still sees as a start-up, intraday market capitalization stood at around $47.95 billion, while Ford’s value dropped to $44.91 billion, on the back of a share price that was down 5%, caused by a decrease in March sales of 7%. GM shares also suffered a sell-off of around 4% on a marginal growth of just over 1%, bringing the companies market cap well within reach of Tesla at $50.78 billion.

Both GM and Ford have missed the opportunity in electric vehicles. The automakers recently wrote to President Donald Trump, in an attack on EV’s, through the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, asking him to relax emission targets as they did not see consumer demand for electric vehicles justify such stringent EPA standards. Maybe investors are taking a cue from Hyundai’s shareholders, who revolted, resulting in the company changing its electric vehicle strategy in 2016.

The strong resistance of $280 which held since September 2014 saw the stock retreat after creating a double top formation at the level in July 2015. After testing the resistance for the second time, Tesla’s shares retreated to a low of $151 in Feb 2016. The first count on the breakout of the channel, which broke in January at $230, can see Tesla’s shares trade at around $320 in the near future. If all else remain equal, it will equate to a market cap of $52,2 billion, well above that of GM.

Share data, Google and Marketwatch

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Top 5 Electric Vehicle News Stories of Week 7 2017

Top 5 Electric Vehicle News Stories of Week 7 2017

ONE

The respected Economist Magazine this week commented on forecast adjustments by various investment houses for the penetration of electric vehicles. Up till last year, the consensus was that only 4% of new vehicles would be electric by 2025. BNP Paribas now forecast 11% penetration by 2025, while Morgan Stanley see’s a 7% penetration. In 2016 international EV sales increased with nearly 750,000 units (42%)  in spite of a low fuel price environment. One factor driving the change of heart are aggressive regulations to support environmental targets. In Norway electric vehicles now makes up 37% of new vehicle fleet amid government support while in China the Government aims to have EV’s make up 8% of new vehicles by 2018. Technology has also moved much faster than anticipated and battery cost, a long time stumbling block is coming down faster than anticipated, with some mega factories coming online within the next two years. Our hearts go out to the automakers that failed to notice the trend, RIP Fiat, Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, and the list goes on, not to mention Big Oil. 

TWO

This week Tesla CEO Elon Musk commented on the disruption of self-driving cars to the sector during the World Government Summit in Dubai. Mr. Musk was in Dubai for the launch of Tesla in the Emirates. His comments indicated that Tesla would have its first Level 4 Autonomous system available by the end of 2017. The disruption is significant to the auto sector since once a self-driving car is available, it will devalue new cars without the technology. According to Mr. Musk, the disruption will be slow initially but that in ten years from now all new cars will have the capability to be autonomous. It’s significant that Mr. Musk made the comments at a Government Summit as regulations, not technology seems to be the biggest hurdle at the moment. Will technology force the pace of Governments? We sincerely hope so.

THREE

Mercedes-Benz USA announces that Daimler will stop selling combustion based Smart ForFour and ForTwo models in the USA and Canada. The brand will focus on electric models only in a report by Reuters. 

FOUR

The Wall Street Journal reported on the Chinese Electric Vehicle market hitting a road block, with new electric vehicles sales down over 60% for January. China up till now has been the mainstay of the sector with sales increases in 2015 of 300% and 50% on top of that in 2016. The recent clampdown on corruption in the sector which led to a range of new regulations being forced on the Chinese market since December 30, 2016, is seen to be the reason for the sharp slowdown. The Wall Street Journal reported on fines of $150 million imposed on some companies in September 2016. The fines were as a result of subsidy fraud. The Chinese Government also indicated earlier the year that they want to increase barriers to entry and limit the market to around ten manufacturers, down from over 200 currently, in a bid to improve quality and safety of the end product.

FIVE

The 3rd event in the current series of the Formula-E electric vehicle street racing calendar held Buenos Aires Argentina ended yet again with a victorious Renault.eDams team. The e.Dams driver, Swiss-born Sebastian Buemi clinched his 3rd win of the series. The Brasilian Lucas Di Grassi’s 2nd position kept Audi’s ABT Schaeffler standings in the overall second position. The Chinese teams of Next EV and Techeeta were the only teams climbing the rankings, now lying 4th and 5th respectively. Newcomer Panasonic Jaguar has yet to score a single point in the 3rd season, with its drivers Evans and Carrol ending 18th and 19th.