Top 5 Electric Vehicle News Stories of Week 30 2017

Top 5 Electric Vehicle News Stories of Week 30 2017

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TOP EV NEWS #1 – FIVE NEW EVs LAUNCHED THIS WEEK

This week saw the launch of five new entrants to the electric vehicle market, three of which go on sale in the coming month and two available on pre-order.

The most anticipated release is, of course, that of the Tesla Model 3, which was held on Friday the 28th of July when the first 30 cars were handed over to their owners. The Tesla Model 3 is already sold out for the next year as over 400,000 people have placed the $1000 deposit for the pre-order. Tesla announced the specification and price of the Tesla Model 3 at Friday’s event. The mass-market EV is available in a standard and long range version, the standard with a range of 220 miles priced at $35,000 (before incentives) and a long range version for $9,000 more extending the range to 310 miles. A fully loaded Model 3 with all the bells and whistles will set you back around $60,000 before incentives. See the full spec-sheet here.

This week also saw the release of the first fully electric Sports Utility Truck, the Bollinger B1. The B1 is available on pre-order, but no price has been set for the no-nonsense all-electric SUT.

A German start-up Sono Motors unveiled its Solar EV, the Sion. The Sion has a range of  250km plus integrated solar that will provide a further 30km per day. The Sion is available for pre-order starting at €500 but only expected for release in 2019. The price for the Sion is set at €16,000 and excludes the battery which could either be leased or purchased at present value price of around €4,000. Production of the Sion is funded through a crowd funding campaign commencing on the 18th of August 2017 with test-drive events around Europe through to October 2017 to be held in 11 cities in 7 countries.

In China, the SAIC / GM / Wuling joint venture, Baojun launched its first electric vehicle, the Smart look-alike Baojun E100 city car. GAC also released its much anticipated GAC GE3 SUV BEV. Both vehicles will go on sale in August. The Baojun will sell for CNY35,800 ($5,300) and the GAC GE3 starting at CNY 150,000 ($22,200).

In related news, FIAT Chrysler and (former) EV naysayer, Sergio Marchionne, this week announced during an Investor event that all cars of its luxury marque Maserati would be electrified post-2019. Mr. Marchionne went further stating that half of Fiat Chrysler’s lineup, including Alfa Romeo, will be electric from 2022. The strategy will be formulated over the next year as the company enters its 3rd five-year plan in 2019.

Top 5 Electric Vehicle News Stories of Week 30 2017

TOP EV NEWS #2 – TOYOTA PERSUING SOLID STATE BATTERIES

A Reuters report lifted the veil on Toyota’s electric vehicle plans further this week. The Reuters report claims the Japanese automaker is developing a new electric vehicle platform, based on solid state battery technology to enter the market in 2022. The advantage of solid state battery technology is that it addresses range and charging shortcomings of current lithium technology.  A solid state battery can be charged in only a couple of minutes and has more storage capacity for longer range. Toyota, which has been lagging in the EV race is set to enter the EV market in China from 2019 with a mass market SUV based on the C-HR SUV. The C-HR EV will be developed using current lithium technology. Other automakers pursuing solid state batteries includes BMW who has set a 10-year plan to bring solid state EVs to market.

toyota-c-hr

TOP EV NEWS #3 – USA SELF DRIVING ACT PROGRESSING

The US House Energy and Commerce Committee this week advanced legislation designed to keep autonomous vehicles safe and promote the advancement of the technology. The self-driving act is billed as the PAVE Act, which expands the existing authorization of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to evaluate exemptions from federal motor vehicle safety standards only if there is no reduction in safety and increases the number of vehicles for which exemption may be granted. The exemption will help the advancement of the autonomous driving development by allowing the industry to collect data and help Government to recall self-driving cars for safety reasons. The act is becoming increasingly important as more and more companies and states get involved in the testing of self-driving technology. Ride hailing company, Lyft, this week announced that it formed a self-driving division and will establish a self-driving research facility, named Level 5 in Palo Alto, California.

TOP EV NEWS #4 – MERCEDES TO ENTER FORMULA E

While the 3rd season of the Formula E is ending this weekend in Montreal, Canada with Renault e.dams set to win it for the third season in a row, two racing car heavy weights this week announced that they would join the series in the 6th season from 2019. Porsche announced this week that it would quit the Le Mans race and join Formula E, following sister company Audi who left the well known 24-hour race in October 2016. The other automaker to join the Formula E circuit was Porsches’ German compatriot and recent Formula 1 champion, Mercedes, who also announced this week that it will join the 2019 series, leaving the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters to help with funding its participation in the emerging EV racing franchise.

TOP EV NEWS #5 – SHELL CEO BUYS INTO EVs

CEO of Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Ben Van Beurden, told Bloomberg in a televised interview that he is ditching ICE vehicles and buying an electric vehicle, all be it a plug-in hybrid Mercedes Benz S500e. The companies CFO already owns a BMW i3. Mr. Van Beurden said “The whole move to electrify the economy, electrify mobility in places like northwest Europe, in the U.S., even in China, is a good thing. We need to be at a much higher degree of electric vehicle penetration — or hydrogen vehicles or gas vehicles — if we want to stay within the 2-degrees Celsius outcome.” He went on saying “If policies and innovation really work well, I can see liquids peaking in demand in the early 2030s and maybe oil will peak a little bit earlier if there’s a lot of biofuels coming into the mix as well.”

The statement comes in the wake of the UK Government’s announcement that it will ban the sale of ICE and PHEV from 2040, joining countries like France, India, and Norway in such a move.

Shell is preparing itself for the shift away from fossil fuels by spending $1 Billion a year in its New Energies business unit.

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Top 5 Electric Vehicle News Stories of Week 26 2017

Top 5 Electric Vehicle News Stories of Week 26 2017

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TOP EV NEWS #1 – VW ANNOUNCE TWO MORE I.D. EVs

Up to now, news about VWs plans with its I.D. electric series have been sparse. The latest news on the VW I.D. strategy was about VW’s Chairman, Dr. Herbert Diess confirming the production of the I.D. Buzz. Dutch publication, Groen 7, this week provided a further glimpse of the VW strategy with the I.D EV model range which included two more models to join the three models already announced. VW will develop the I.D Lounge, an SUV and I.D AEROe, a sporty sedan exclusively for the US and Chinese markets. The I.D Lounge and I.D. AEROe will follow the I.D., I.D. Cross and I.D.Buzz models to hit the roads from 2019 to 2022. VW will produce the I.D. for the European market and the I.D. Cross for Europe and China. The market for the I.D.Buzz is yet to be defined.

All the I.D. models will be developed on VWs M.E.B platform. Golf replacement, the I.D. is expected in 2019 and promises a range of up to 600km from a 125kW electric motor. The last model in the range, the I.D. Buzz will have two electric motors with a combined output of 291kW and an acceleration of 0-100km/h in 5 seconds.

In related news the CEO of VW Group company Porsche, Mr. Oliver Blume said that half of all Porsche models would be electric by 2023. The Porsche Mission-E is expected in 2019/2020, followed by a BEV SUV Coupé. Porsche is preparing for the production of 60,000 electric vehicles per annum at its Zuffenhausen assembly plant.

SEAT, the Spanish-based VW Group brand, announced that it would develop an electric version of the high-performance Cupra model range.

Audi and German auto parts company, Schaeffler, partnered to develop a new powertrain for the ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport Formula E Race Team. The partnership will be around the development for the next three generations of the race car’s powertrain. The team has finished on the podium for the past two seasons and is again lying second in the third iteration of the ever popular event.

TOP EV NEWS #2 – VW JAC JV WILL LAUNCH EV SUV JAN 2018

The VW JAC electric vehicles joint venture signed in Berlin at the start of June 2017 officially kicked off in Hefei, Anhui Province on the 29th of June 2017. The Chinese JV company, JAC Volkswagen Automobile Co., Ltd. with an initial investment of 5.6 billion Yuan ($740 million) will deliver its first electric car in January 2018. According to reports the first EV from the JV will be a fully electric SUV.

TOP EV NEWS #3 – LeAUTO TO GET NEW LEASE ON LIFE

We have followed the Chinese “Netflix,” LeTVs, misadventures in the electric vehicle sector for the past year. LeTVs auto companies, Faraday Future in the USA and the LeEco in China, is well known for overpromising and underdelivering on its goals. The reason for the failure of the enterprises to make good on the hype created around it stems mostly from a cash crunch at the parent company, LeTV, due to it overextending itself in a wide range of projects. The founder of LeTV, Jia Yueting, had to personally jump in and save the two electric vehicles from faltering as groundbreaking of the Faraday Future ground to a halt while the launch of the FF91 at the CES 2017 flopped and the JV with Aston Martin was suspended. At the start of June, the Shenzhen Stock Exchange suspended the launch of the company’s RMB 2 billion bond which was supposed to provide cash flow to LeTV and its subsidiaries. This week Jia Yueting announced that LeTV would complete A-round financing by the end of the year to fund its vehicle projects housed under LeAuto. The funding will be used for mass production of electric vehicles. Jia Yeating stepped down recently as General Manager at LeTV and took a board position at LeAuto and FF Global. Faraday Future also clawed back some reputation this week as the FF91 prototype set a new production vehicle record at Pikes Peak.The FF91s time of 11 minutes 25.083 seconds record was 20 seconds faster than the previous record set by a modified Tesla Model S. Should the funding fails it will most probably be the end of the projects as LeTV has racked up large debts already resulting in large-scale layoffs and halting of projects.

TOP EV NEWS #4 – MAHINDRA & MAHINDRA SSANGYONG TO DEVELOP AN EV SUV

The Korean auto manufacturer, Ssangyong, 72.85% owned by Indian conglomerate Mahindra and Mahindra announced that it will produce of an electric SUV by 2020. The SUV is to be assembled at the 250,000 unit plant in Pyeongtaek South Korea. and promises a range of 300km with a top speed of 150km/h. Ssangyong earmarked 1 trillion won ($1 billion) for the development of SUVs and EVs over the next four years. The parent Mahindra & Mahindra will support the development with funds and technical assistance.

TOP EV NEWS #5 – MORE REGULATORY SUPPORT FOR EVs

The international promotion of electric vehicles got another leg up this week with the Governments of Thailand and New Zealand announcing incentives to promote the adoption of electric vehicles.

The Thai government set preferential excise duties for electric vehicles as depicted in the slide by the Tax Authority below. Electric Vehicles is one of 10 target industries in Thailand, which is an international auto manufacturing hub. The preferential rates will apply through 2025 and will extend to include EVs and ten EV parts. The ten EV components to benefit from the incentive are batteries, traction motors, battery management services, DC/DC converters, inverters, portable electric vehicle chargers, electrical circuit breakers and EV smart charging systems according to the Bangkok Post.
Thai-ev-incentives

The New Zealand legislature passed the Energy Innovation Amendment Bill to implement sections of the New Zealand Governments Electric Vehicles Program amongst other changes. The amendment comes at a time when New Zealand EV sales for May 2017 smashed records. The amendments make provision for the exemption of EVs from road charges and enabling bylaws allowing special lanes for EVs.

In related news, the US state of Nevada passed Assembly Bill 69 which authorizes the testing of autonomous vehicles on its public roads. Nevada joins an ever increasing list of States allowing for the testing of self-driving cars on public roads. States that already allows for the testing on public roads include Texas, California, Michigan and New York.

Be sure to check out our new presentation of all EVs since 2010 to gain great insights on all auto brands and their electric vehicle strategies. We have also created presentations per technology type BEV, PHEV, Autonomous, and FCEV.

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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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Top 5 Electric Vehicle News Stories Week 13 2017

Top 5 Electric Vehicle News Stories Week 13 2017

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ONE

News from the past week shows the that the pendulum is swinging quicker than expected for electric vehicles. The results of two surveys in the UK this week was a clear indication that demand for electric vehicles is much more than most automakers anticipated. Google searches for the electric vehicles has also surged by 127%.

A survey by Venson Automotive Solutions shows that 85% of respondents from a survey in the UK are now seriously considering buying an EV. Reading between the lines, wattEV2Buy finds it significant that range is no longer the deterring factor when prospective buyers are considering buying an EV. For long, most respondents to such surveys cited range as overarching reason for not buying an EV. In the Venson Survey, a lack of charging stations was the biggest reason for prospective buyers to put off the buying decision. In a separate survey by Carbuyer, 61% of respondents said they would not buy diesel vehicles again because of “diesel gate,” the spectacular “own goal” by big auto. Diesel sales were down 9% in the UK for the month of February while plug-in vehicles rose by 49%.

Most automakers have caught on to the shift, but not aggressive enough, while others are being forced to produce plug-in electric vehicles. Labor organizations within Audi have asked management to build more electric vehicles, as some of the factory units fear missing out on the technology will lead to job losses. Hyundai was forced by shareholders to shift focus on Fuel Cell Hybrid Vehicles to plug-in electric vehicles, while Daimler has accelerated its massive $10 billion planned investment in EV’s. All these turnarounds in strategy pale in comparison to that of Sergio Marchionne, FIAT Chrysler‘s CEO, but more Hyundai, FIAT, and Daimler later in the post.

Below are the results of the Venson survey

Top 5 Electric Vehicle News Stories Week 13 2017

TWO

Hyundai admits electric vehicles are an imperative. During the Los Angeles Auto Show in 2016, the company said that it planned to have 14 new alternative vehicles in the US by 2020. The planned product mix include’s four plug-in hybrids, four electric and one hydrogen fuel cell model.  Thursday Mr. Lee shed some more light on the company’s plans, indicating that the first fully electric vehicle planned for next year would be a small SUV. According to Mr. Lee, the SUV would have a range of 185 miles (300km). Although the company is developing its own dedicated platform, it can’t say when it would be ready. The platform is modeled after that of Tesla, with the batteries in the floor, allowing for more battery capacity and cabin space. It is clear from the announcement that the company is aggressively trying to catch up on lost ground.

Hyundai now expects the EV market to be around 10% of the global fleet by 2025, at which point Fuel Cell EV’s will take off. Hyundai’s luxury brand, Genesis also announced today that it would introduce a PHEV by 2019 and BEV by 2021.

THREE

With the run-up to the Formula E to be held in Mexico City today, Ferrari came out in support of the event. FIA’s Auto magazine quoted the CEO of FIAT Chrysler, one of the auto industries biggest naysayers of EV’s, Sergio Marchionne as follows in an interview:

“The first is that we need to be involved in Formula E because electrification via hybridization is going to be part of our future.”
“We have already developed a hybrid supercar, La Ferrari,” he said, “and on future Ferrari models we will leverage new technologies as well as electrification.”

And this from a man that came out vehemently against the technology, saying it will never catch on.

FOUR

Daimler this week, after a board meeting in Berlin, announced that it would accelerate its $11 billion investment in electric vehicles by bringing it forward with three years from 2025, as announced last year to 2022. Reuters reported that the automaker’s aggressive stance are the result of it not being able to cut fleet emissions of 123gm CO2/km from 2015 to 2016 in Europe. Europe has set a very stringent target of 95gm CO2/km by 2020. Daimler’s own target for 2020 is 100gm CO2. The German automaker cites the popularity of SUV’s as the reason for it not cutting its emissions for the first time since 2007.

FIVE

GM acquired its second Y Incubator company, the Italian based OSVehicle, for $1.1 billion in a bid to develop a self-driving “Vehicle-as-a -Service” (VaaS).

OSVehicle provides an open-source platform to hobbyists and other start-ups. Customers can have a full EV platform, the Tabby EVO, shipped between $12,500 and $19,500. OSVehicle claim start-ups can save $2 million and 3-years in Research and Development by going the open-source route. The open-source platform enables for larger disruption in mobility options using electric vehicles. Imagine adding George Hotz’s self-driving car kit which he plans to market through his company comma.ai at a price of $1,000, and you can build your own “ai-chauffeur” driven zero emission vehicle.

GM aims to use OSVehicle to develop its EDIT modular self-driving car based on the Chevy Bolt M1 platform. The decision was influenced by the ability of modular platforms to extend the lifespan of heavy use vehicles, such as ride sharing and hailing applications. OSVehicle‘s Yuki and Tin Hang Liu claim that through the use of modular architecture, car fleets can last ten times longer by enabling seamless hardware upgrades of self-driving and connected car technologies.

Picture: Genesis Concept introduced at New York Auto Show

NextEV gets support for its autonomous car the NIO EVE

NextEV gets support for its autonomous car the NIO EVE

NextEV gets support for its autonomous car the NIO EVE in the same week in which a funding crisis ankle taped another aspirational EV startup from China, Faraday Future, backed by a Chinese internet company, LeEcoBaidu Inc, the Chinese search engine this week led an investment round estimated at $600 million into NextEV. NextEV, a global startup as it calls itself, with offices in China, Germany, UK and the USA launched it’s auto brand NIO, in December 2016 in London. NextEV is also one of the first participants of the Formula E franchise held in various cities around the world to promote electric vehicles. NextEV has its roots in racing, founded in 2004 by the Chinese Minister of Sports with the intent to be a Chinese contender in A1 Grand Prix. The NextEV TCR team eventually ended up being one of the first teams to compete in Formula E, winning the driver’s title in the first season but came last in the second season. The exposure nonetheless is a good testing ground for technologies, gaining experience and marketing. NextEV’s Formula E team lies at a respectable fourth position in the overall team standings after the third round in the third season, held in Buenos Aires Argentina during February 2017.

NIO unveiled its autonomous vision, to be released in the USA in 2020, the NIO EVE, at a world premiere event during the SXSW 2017 in Austin Texas. The NIO EVE is a Level 4 Automated electric vehicle for the US market, anticipated for release in 2020. NextEV partnered with MobilEye, recently acquired by Intel, NVIDIA and NXP Semiconductors to develop its autonomous vehicle. Along with the release of the NIO EVE, U.S. CEO Padmasree Warrior showed a video of the NIO EP9 completing the first historical feat of racing around the America‘s Track in Austin Texas without a driver, reaching a top speed of 160mph. The vehicle also broke a lap record with a driver.

Baidu, looking for new growth areas, created a $3 billion investment fund, Baidu Capital, found the fast-growing electric vehicle market attractive at a time when the vehicle and the internet are moving closer to each other. NextEV raised $500 million in 2016 from investors such as Tencent, who is also invested in Future Mobility, Hillhouse Capital, who also invested in UBER,  Sequoia Capital and Joy Capital.

Judging from the interest in NextEV‘s offering from investors consumers can certainly look forward to being wowed by NextEV while it pushes the boundaries, not being tied to the red tape associated with most Big Auto companies.

Read more on the Chinese internet billionaires investing in the fast-growing electric vehicle market at the following link.

 

 

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.