Top 5 Electric Vehicle News Stories of Week 29 2017

Top 5 Electric Vehicle News Stories of Week 29 2017

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TOP EV NEWS #1 – MERCEDES BENZ AND CHERY TRADEMARK DISPUTE

Mercedes Benz and Chery Automotive reached an agreement in the trademark dispute lodged (EV News Week 12) by Chery in March 2017. According to a joint press release, the companies agreed to the following settlement with regards to using the EQ designation for electric vehicles in China:

Chery will focus on using the designations eQ and eQ1, as well as further numerical continuations thereof, while Daimler will focus on use in their electric Mercedes-Benz products with the designations EQC and any other alphabetical supplements. Daimler will use the EQ Power designation for Plug-In Hybrids and meanwhile Chery will also use eQ TEC to nominate their car electrification system.

Chery has already been using the eQ and eQ1 brand names in China since year 2014 and Daimler has now also granted them the possibility to use this name family in countries outside of China. Daimler established the EQ brand family for electrically driven Mercedes-Benz vehicles almost simultaneously in countries outside of China and Chery has granted the company the possibility to also use this in China now.

TOP EV NEWS #2 – BMWs OXFORD PLANT TO PRODUCE BEV MINI

We reported in March that BMW was considering Mini as an EV only brand, with the Mini being its answer to Tesla and Chevrolet‘s mass market cars, the Model 3 and Bolt EV. At the time BMW CEO, Harald Krüger was quoted that the company is considering manufacturing facilities for the Mini in Germany, the Netherlands, and the UK. Reuters this week reported that unconfirmed sources indicated that the UK would be the winner in the race for producing a fully electric Mini. The BMW plant in Oxford is responsible for 60% of the Groups compact cars, but in the aftermath of BREXIT, the German automaker established the Netherlands as an alternative manufacturing base. The report indicates that the final desition will be announced at the Frankfurt Auto Show in September.

TOP EV NEWS #3 – EV SALES UP IN KEY MARKETS

As the June EV sales data are being released, we have been able to create half year reports for the key markets. Most of the of the key markets are showing exceptional growth in the first half of 2017. The increased sales are helped with the release of a slew of new models. As many as 20 new models have entered the Chinese EV market since June 2016 while most European markets saw ten or more new models. Some of the highlights are:

Germany – Year on Year growth of 104% or 11,000 units

USA – Year on Year growth of 39% or 25,000 units – see report

China – Year on Year growth of 35.8% or 44,000 units – see report

Norway – Year on Year growth of 20.6% or 4,600 units – see report

Sweden – Year on Year growth of 35.2% or 2,100 units – see report

France – Year on Year growth of 1.4% or 260 units

Netherlands – Year on Year growth of -14.2% or shrinking with 656 units

Smaller markets such as Spain has also shown growth of 101% and Italy 53%. We will be releasing detailed reports on all the Top 10 countries in the following two weeks.

TOP EV NEWS #4 – NEW NISSAN LEAF HERE IN SEPTEMBER

Nissan announced that the new Nissan Leaf would be released on the 6th of September. New EV model releases have become as anticipated and high profile as smart phone releases some years back. With the date nearing Nissan has been releasing teasers about the long awaited new Nissan Leaf. The latest teaser revealed that the Leaf would have an e-Pedal, or for the novice, just one pedal to accelerate and break. Breaking is done by taking your foot off the pedal, activating regenerative breaking. The technology was first used in the Tesla Model S and then in the BMW i3 in 2014. Previous teasers indicated that the Leaf would have some autopilot functionality.

TOP EV NEWS #5 – VOLVO AND GEELY TO FORM EV TECH JV

The Swedish carmaker, Volvo, and the Chinese company, Geely is fostering deeper relationships in the worlds largest market for electric vehicles. In a press release by Volvo this week it was revealed that the companies would establish a new joint venture technology company to share existing and future technologies. We have seen this cooperative trend in China for the last couple of months, which is a departure from previous JVs between international and Chinese companies. In the past international automakers were forced by law to enter into JVs with Chinee companies to be able to sell their vehicles, which lead to mostly older generation models being dished up to the Chinese consumer as the international partners tried to protect their IP.

The JV company will be owned 50/50 by Geely and Volvo with its HQ in China and a subsidiary in Gothenburg, Sweden. The Memorandum of Understanding agreed to on the 20th of July between Volvo, Geely and newly formed LYNK & CO determined that the companies will share vehicle architecture and engine technologies via cross licensing arrangements of technologies managed by the new joint venture. The IP for the technology will remain with the company that developed it, but the technology itself will be available for use by Volvo, Geely Auto, and LYNK & CO, via license agreements. Volvo Cars and Geely already share technology, most notably the Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) which is being used by Volvo Cars for its soon-to-be-announced smaller range of 40 series cars and by LYNK & CO.

Separately, it is also announced that Volvo will acquire a minority shareholding in LYNK & CO.

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Top 5 Electric Vehicle News Stories of Week 28 2017

Top 5 Electric Vehicle News Stories of Week 28 2017

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TOP EV NEWS #1 – FIRST MEXICAN PRODUCED EV

Meet Zacua, the first Mexican produced electric vehicle. The Mexican company Motores Limpios, S.A.P.I. de C.V. produced the Zacua electric vehicle in partnership with Spanish, French and Chinese companies. The French company Automobiles Chatenet designed the two models, the M2 and M3. Spanish company Dynamik Technological Alliance developed the drivetrain while the battery is from China. The Zacua brand is named after the name of a bird species found from Mexico to Panama.

Production of the 2-seater full electric vehicle will be limited to 100 and is expected in November 2017, followed by 200 in 2018 and 300 in 2019. Assembly of the Zacua M2 and M3 will be in Mexico State and move to Puebla in 2019. The production of the Zacua generated 30 early stage jobs while no indication of the initial or total required investment was divulged.

Specifications for the Zacua are as follows:

  • Dimensions: 3.06 meters long, 1.56 meters wide and 1.4 meters high.
  • Weight  – 380kg.
  • Charge time is 8-hours
  • Range 160km / 100 miles
  • Top Speed of 85km/h / 53mph
  • 15.6 kWh battery
  • FWD
  • Electric Permanent Magnet Synchronous motor with a max power of 34kW.

Pricing for the base model starts at $24,500 / 440,000 pesos and buyers will not be required to pay car tax or purchase an environmental verification certificate as required by Mexican law. Owners will also not be restricted by the “Hoy No Circula” or No Circulation Today, an environmental program required to improve the air quality in Mexico through six monthly emission testing and restrictions on driving between 5.AM and 10 PM.

 

zacua logo

TOP EV NEWS #2 – DACIA TO PRODUCE LOW-COST  EVs

The Renault owned Romanian producer of low-cost vehicles, Dacia; this week indicated that it would also enter the market for alternatively fuelled vehicles according to a Romanian publication quoting Renault Group’s Commercial Director Hakim Bouthera. According to Mr. Bouthera Dacia needs to reposition itself as the market changes away from combustion engines but should maintain its DNA as producer of affordable cars. The Romanian EV market has seen a steady rise in the adoption of electric vehicles, with April 2017 data showing a near three fold increase in EV sales compared to the same period in 2016. The April data shows that 548 EVs were sold at the end of the month to only 195 in the same period of the previous year. EVs now constitute 1% of registered vehicles in Romania with around 2,000 alternatively fuelled cars sold in the last three years. The Romanian government supports the EV sector with a €10,000 (45,000 lei) subsidy.

TOP EV NEWS #3 – LONDON TAXI CO UNVEILS PRODUCTION READY EV

London Taxi Co, the Geely owned company since 2013, this week unveiled its production ready electric taxi, the TX, which is based on the FX4 black cab that went out of production in 1984. The 60-year-old British company changed its strategy to produce electric vehicles exclusively and opened its EV production facility at the end of March in Ansty, Coventry. The company will be as the London Electric Vehicle Company (LEVC). The new model will be a range extended car with a 70-mile (112km) electric range and 400-mile (640km) total range. The first 150 black cabs will be seen on London’s roads from November 2017 to comply with Transport of London’s (TfL) new rules requiring all new cabs to be zero emission capable from 1 January 2018 with the intent to phase out diesel cabs by 2023. TfL will support the initiative with co-developing 80 charging points by 2018 which will increase to 200 by 2020. The average London Cabbie covers around 120 miles (192km) per day and costs around £43,000 ($56,000) which is financed by the London Taxi Co through a private hire vehicle finance scheme. Although no formal pricing have been announced word on the street is that the TX will sell for around £50,000 ($65,000). LEVC also announced that it already received an order for 225 TX’s from the Dutch taxi operator, RMC, for use in Amsterdam. The TX competes with the Uber financed Toyota Prius and Mercedes Benz Euro 6 Vito Taxi (not EV), priced at £47,000 ($75,200).

TOP EV NEWS #4 – NISSAN DEVELOPING A CITY EV FOR CHINA

The Nikkei Asian Review reported this week that Nissan Motor of Japan is developing a low-cost EV for Chinese cities which is expected within fiscal 2018, citing the automakers CEO, Mr. Hiroto Saikawa. The car is expected to be a pure electric A-class able to travel short distances priced at half the cost of a Nissan Leaf or around 1.5 million yuan ($13,200). The new city car will share its platform with other Nissan Alliance members Renault and Mitsubishi and produced at local partner Dongfeng to keep cost in check. Renault is developing its own EV on the same platform for the Chinese market, the Kwid crossover expected in the Chinese market by 2019.

The Chinese Governments aggressive electric car quotas are forcing international automakers to fast track electric vehicle plans for the country, fearing penalties such as losing their production licenses. The Chinese Government is expected to implement requirements from 2018 which will force auto companies to sell electric cars to generate ZEV credits. Automakers are complaining that the targets are impossible to meet and will disrupt their businesses. Reuters this week reported on a letter seen by it where auto companies wrote to the China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology in June 2018 asking for concessions on the planned initiative. The companies requests include asking for a delay of the program by a year, softening of the penalties and an equaling the requirements for local and international players.

TOP EV NEWS #5 – JAPAN’S TESLA ACQUIRED BY WATCHMAKER

Japanese EV start-up, GLM (right below), sold 85.5% shares to Hong Kong watchmaker O Luxe for an estimated $114 million according to the Nikkei Asian Review. GLM, labeled Japan’s Tesla, unveiled its electric supercar, the GLM G4, at the Paris Motor Show in October 2016. The GLM with a range of 400km (234-mile NEDC) has a total system output of 400kW and torque of 1,000N.m accelerating to 100km/h in 3,9 seconds reaching a top speed of 250km/h. The start-up evolved from a Kyoto University venture in 2010 and made ripples with its Tommykaira ZZ prototype (left below) earlier the year which features the worlds first resin windshield. O Luxe shares rose 21% on the news while GLM dropped 19.6%.

op 5 Electric Vehicle News Stories of Week 28 2017

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How successful is the Chinese New Energy Vehicles Program?

How successful is the Chinese New Energy Vehicles Program?

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45% of Chinese EV makers sold less than 500 models per year

 

The recent Chinese Auditor General’s report on the Central Governments budget for the implementation of its New Energy Vehicles (NEVs) program has delivered some mixed results. The State’s Auditing Administration found some disturbing results from its inspection of 66 companies producing new energy vehicles including passenger vehicles, buses, and commercial vehicles. One has to ask yourself how successful has the program been when finding that 2,200 vehicles out of 35,500 produced by 13 companies were left unsold for a period of longer than a year? How successful has the program been to alleviate pollution in cities if 17,200 of the 35,500 traveled less than 3,000km (1,875 miles) in a year?

The program to promote NEVs was established in 2010 to form part of China’s 12th 5-year plan running from 2011 to 2015. The program had a budget of RMB 100 billion ($14.4 Billion) which included the promotion of EVs through subsidies, development of a charging network, and manufacturing incentives. In 2016 the country cracked down on the rampant abuse of the system by handing down fines totaling $150 million and closing five of the worst offenders. In total, the Audit Administration’s report found, that subsidies to the tune of RMB 1.67 Billion ($240 million) were overpaid due to cheating, which is nearly half the entire budget of eight provincial funds.

The Minister of Industry and Information Technology was quoted in January 2017 that China aims to quadruple its NEV fleet to 2 million units by 2020 and have one in five cars as EVs by 2025, which is expected to be 7 million EVs. The report found that in some cases the subsidies might have been too effective in targeting the development of NEVs. In a sample of around 6,800 units from 13 companies, it was found that more than half was buses, which received subsidies of 70% of the units sales price or higher, skewing the intended outcome away from passenger vehicles.

In January 2017 the Government cracked down on the sector by capping the total subsidies available at the Local Government level at 50% of that of the Central Government, dropping the NEV subsidy by 20% effective 1 January 2017, and raising the technology threshold of distance per charge and energy consumption. The new subsidy at Central Government level is now 44,000 yuan ($6,333) for EVs with a range greater than 250km (156 miles), down from 60,000 yuan ($8,600). The subsidy for buses was capped at 300,000 yuan (43,000) down from 500,000 yuan ($72,000). The sudden crackdown led to a crash in NEV sales for January 2017 of below 8,000 units compared to a full year total for 2016 of around 500,000 units. The sector has since recovered but is not expected to reach the stellar growth that it needs to outpace 2016 by double digits.

Other headline figures from the Auditor’s report shows that 45% of EV makers sold less than 500 models per year, which is a justification for the country implementing a production certificate system. The permitting of automakers to produce EVs have reached its current limit of 15 production certificates when JAC received authorisation for its 100,000 units per annum plant.

On the positive side, the Auditor found that Chinese automakers are starting to dominate the world market for electric vehicles as three, BYD, Geely, and BAIC rank in the top ten by EV sales list. Auto parts companies such as CATL, a battery manufacturer, and Jing-Jin Electric, a manufacturer of drivetrains for EVs have become internationally known for their products.

Going forward the Chinese Government is changing tact from a carrot and stick approach by promoting NEVs through subsidies and regulation to relying more on the stick by introducing more stringent NEV quotas on auto manufacturers from 2018. The Chinese authorities had a visit in June 2017 from the California Resource Board, to co-operate on the proposed Chinese ZEV quotas. The Californian Resource Board was responsible for the state’s much hailed Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) framework. The proposed Chinese ZEV quotas are set to require auto manufacturers to have ZEV’s contribute 8% of their sales in 2018 and increase annually by 2% to reach 12% in 2020.

 

Picture: Workers assemble new-energy cars at a workshop of Weidong New-Energy Car Co Ltd in Zouping, Shandong province. [Photo/China Daily]

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, and FCEV.

nterested in learning more about Chinese electric vehicles? Download our fun and easy app below, flick the China switch and swipe left the models you don’t like, right the ones you do, enter the chat rooms and share your thoughts with the community.

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Traum Auto, another new vehicle brand chasing the Chinese dream

Traum Auto, another new vehicle brand chasing the Chinese dream

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TRAUM AUTO TO FOCUS ON THE YOUTH SEGMENT

GoTo Traum EV Models to see the latest models, news, and sales.

The latest auto brand coming from China, Traum Auto from the Zotye stable, was officially launched on the 27th of June 2017. The company is registered as Traum New Energy Automobile and will be headquartered in Hebei Province. The new Chinese auto brand will use Zotye’s Chongqing plant for its vehicle production. Traum is the German word for “Dream” and judging from the pace of growth in the Chinese auto sector the Chinese Dream is to have a vehicle, more particularly an SUV.

The new Zotye brand is focussed on the aspirational youth segment in the fast-growing Chinese economy. Most automakers globally struggle to attract the younger generation to show interest in owning vehicles as mobility trends change. In the USA only around 20% of the youth in a 2012 survey showed any interest at all in getting a drivers license. In the Japan Toyota discontinuing its youth brand Scion at the end of 2016.

 

Will Traum Auto develop electric vehicles?

Traum Auto, very much like another newcomer Yudo Auto, is zooming in on the SUV segment as it plans to release eight SUVs in the next three years and only one sedan or hatch vehicle. Other than Yudo which will only produce electric vehicles, Traum will produce vehicles with an original design and advanced power plants over the whole spectrum of HYBRID, PHEV and BEV technologies leveraging on Zotye’s knowhow. The company targets efficiencies for its hybrid vehicles of 4liter/100km and plug-in hybrids of 2l/100km and BEV with a range of 550km (340 miles).Traum Auto Model release

 

Traum has more than one German connection.

Traum Auto aims to develop connected car’s packed with the latest technologies and will kick off with a five and seven seater SUV as early as November this year.

Being in step with its target market Traum Auto will use new sales channels to distribute its vehicles. China has embraced e-commerce and other Chinese automakers such as Geely has already switched to online delivery channels away from the physical dealership model. China’s most popular city EV, the Geely Zhi Dou D2 EV is sold exclusively through experience centers, Geely’s Tmall.com store and new energy vehicle online platform Diandong.com. Traum Auto will, however, must have some physical presence close to its clients as it is still tied to regular servicing of combustion engines. 

Traum Auto has named Song Jia as its CEO and gained the skills of Benedek Toth as its designer. Benedek Toth worked as Senior Designer at Mercedes-Benz’s RDNA Advanced Design in California. Do you see the Mercedes connection in the Traum models rendered below? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section.

Traum Auto Models

Pictures: autoreview.ru

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, and FCEV.

Interested in learning more about Chinese electric vehicles? Download our fun and easy app below, flick the China switch and swipe left the models you don’t like, right the ones you do, enter the chat rooms and share your thoughts with the community.

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China has only 14 legal EV brands, most as ugly as…

China has only 14 legal EV brands, most as ugly as…

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In June 2016 the Chinese authorities embarked on a program to regulate the industry that saw over 200 companies planning to produce over 50 million cars a year. Initially, the Chinese Government announced that it would only provide ten manufacturers with permits to produce electric vehicles in a bid to ensure quality and reliability to the consumer. A year later, at the end of May 2017, 14 new energy vehicle manufacturers were awarded production certificates to develop electric vehicles, with no indication what the new limit on participants is. China leads the world in terms of the size of the electric vehicle market; one would expect that it would lead to the creation of great looking automobiles, the opposite has been the norm.

China’s electric car sector is known for its ugly models, most are either bad clones of other brands, such as the Tesla Model S clone the Youxia Ranger X, or old body types of Japanese or European models with a battery thrown in, such as the 2012 Suzuki SX4 rebadged as the 2017 SD EV Yinse. Currently, most Chinese vehicle manufacturers are bringing mid-to-low end models to production, competing with Western models such as the Tesla Model 3Chevrolet Bolt, Renault Zoe and the Nissan Leaf. A couple of Chinese manufacturers are following the Tesla model of starting with a luxury sedan or sports car and will, therefore, compete with the likes of the Rimac Concept One, Tesla Modle S or Porsche Mission-E.

Many Chinese automakers have addressed design challenges by opening design centers in Europe, mostly in Italy, world-renowned for design, especially automotive design. Some Chinese automakers own established Western brands such as Geely owning Volvo, SAIC Roewe buying MG, NEVS buying SAAB and Wanxiang buying Karma Automotive. One might, therefore, be forgiven to expect that world-class design principles would find its way into Chinese electric vehicle production. Unfortunately, the fusion between Western and Chinese design has yet to deliver eye-catching electric vehicles.

Authorized EV brands in China

With the greater oversight, one would have hoped to be wowed with only the best electric vehicles rising to the top and receiving the coveted production permits. Let’s look at the current Chinese automakers that have been granted production certificates and see what the Chinese consumer and the rest of the world can expect.

BAIC BJEV

The Chinese Government owned BAIC is one of the top-selling EV brands in China and is now into its second generation EV design with the BAIC E200, BAIC EC180, and BAIC EU260. BAIC has also created a stand-alone company for electric vehicles, BJEV and is expected to bring a new brand to light, called Arcfox. Unfortunately, BAIC’s design still looks very much like copies of other brands, take for instance the BAIC EU260 which looks very much like an older Mercedes C-Series.

BAIC-EU260-ev

Changjiang EV

Changjiang EV produces the eCool EV, also know as the FDG Yangtze EV. The company classifies the eCool as a mini-SIV, but in all honesty, it looks more like a hatchback. The eCool comes with 10-inch multi-touch HD screen providing an onboard interconnected experience and a mobile terminal. The vehicle achieved a 4-star C-NCAP measured at 50km/h impact. The hatchback comes in various funky colors, and customers can personalize their dash and seat covers, not that is does anything for the general look of the EV.

changjiang-Yangtze-EV

Qiantu Motor

CH-Auto Technology founded in 2010, the Chinese electric vehicle manufacturer branded as Qiantu Qiche (前途汽车), meaning Future Auto in 2015. Qiantu aims to compete head-on with Tesla and unveiled the Qiantu K50 Event! as the first model in its arsenal to do so ( for all the language buffs, the ! is not a typo but part of the name). The K50 Event! is one of the more appealing Chinese EVs.

qiantu-k50-event

Chery New Energy

Chery Auto was honored with “Best Globalization Strategy for the year 2015” among Chinese Vehicle manufacturers. Chery is a leader in the EV sector with one of the first production cars as far back as 2008.The Chery QQ, first produced in 2015, remains one of the top 10 models in China. The QQ might be popular, but it is certainly not for its looks.

chery-eq1-ev 2018

Jiangsu Minan

The company was founded in 2011 and opened the Jiangsu MIN’AN Automotive Research Institute in October 2015 where it develops its new energy vehicles. Min’an Auto is set to unveil its first EV in 2018. Min’an has the intent to develop three models in 2018, an SUV, rendered below, a sports car and a neighborhood electric (NEV) delivery van. Min’an suffers from the same classification issues as Changjiang EV, trying to sell a hatchback as an SUV.

minan-sportscar-ev

Wanxiang Group (Karma Automotive)

Owned by Chinese auto parts company Wanxiang Group, who bought the remnants of Fisker Automotive in 2013. The company aims to manufacturer 900 Karma Revero’s in 2017. Waxiang Group was one of the first automakers to receive a production certificate allowing it to produce electric vehicles in 2016. The Karma Revero teaser below was released late 2016 and does not look a lot different than the Fisker Karma of 2012.

karma-revero

 

JMC EV

JMC created a new company to house its electric vehicle unit under in early 2015. The plant situated in Nanchang City has a planned production capacity of 70,000 units per year by 2020. JMC EV is planning to follow up on its first electric vehicle the E100 EV with four new models, the E200, E160, S330 SUV PHEV and E170. Th JMC E100 is one of the top 20 sellers in China. Both the E100 and E200 looks quite similar and follows the same boring lines as most of the small electric vehicles such as the Chery QQ and BAIC EC180.

JMC-S330-PHEV

Chongqing Jinkang

The Sokon owned company received its production certificate early 2017 which allows the company to produce 50,000 EVs annually. The company has not unveiled any vehicles but have secured Tesla Co-founder, Martin Eberhard, as a consultant and acquired US-based AC Propulsion at the end of 2016. Sokon developed small commercial vehicles in partnership with Dongfeng.

sokon-ec35-ldv-bev

NEVS

National Electric Vehicles Sweden (NEVS), a Chinese-owned company, acquired the SAAB brand from bankruptcy in 2012. The company received a production permit for 200,000 units annually. The company has already signed an agreement to supply 20,000 SAAB 9-3 to Chinese Aerospace entity, Volinco. Disappointingly it seems that consumers will have to be content with getting another relic from the past as an option when it comes to buying a new EV in China.

nevs 9-3 ev concept

Yudo Auto

Yudo Auto electric vehicles strategy is to produce affordable pure electric SUVs and aims to be a first-class brand in 5 years and international presence in 10 years. Yudo chose the words “creating for change” as its tagline and opened a Design Center in Milan, Italy. The company unveiled two small SUVs at the Shanghai Auto Show in April 2017 as part of its Gemini strategy. The Yudo Pi1 base model looks like a bad knockoff of the VW Tiguan, and the flagship Yudo Pi3 reminds of a Landrover Freelander of the 90’s. Let’s hope there is more “creating for change” down the line.

yudo-pi-1-ev

Know Beans / Zhi Dou

Know Beans (Zhi Dou), a Geely company, and yes that’s the brand’s name, develops the popular ZD D2 mini-car which is also sold under the Zotye label as the Zotye E20. The D2, produced since 205, is also a top 20 electric vehicle in China. You just know, when you look at the D2, that it hails from China. I don’t know what is worse, the brand name or the vehicle, enough said.

zhidou d3 ev

SD EV

Henan Suda EV, also know as SD EV received permission to develop a 100,000 EV plant. SD EV offers one of this ‘Back to the Future’ opportunities, where you can buy a vehicle from 2012 as a brand new model in 2017. SD EV has two EV models ready for production. The vehicles are based on Suzuki SX4 sedan and hatch. The word Suda means to ‘Speed Up’ in Chinese while the Henan refers to the company’s home province.

suda-hatch-ev

Hozon Auto

Hozon received an electric vehicle production certificate allowing it to produce 50,000 units per annum. Hozon unveiled its first concept vehicle, a compact crossover named @, at the 3rd World Internet Conference in November 2016. The Hozon logo looks surprisingly similar than that of Mercedes, and the rendering of the marketing material looks like that of an old generation Buick Lacrosse, while the @ like a Tesla Model X.

hozon-auto-at-ev

GreenWheel

GreenWheel received approval to develop a 50,000 unit plant. The company is better known for developing Neighborhood Electric Vehicles (NEV). Now that GreenWheel has qualified for EV production it aims to start production of the small crossover, named the V5, which is an electric version of the Weichai Enranger G3.

greenwheel-v5

JAC

JAC and VW entered into a JV to produce 100,000 EVs per annum in May 2017 and became the 15th and last company to receive a permit in this round of permitting.

jac-iev-A50-EV

 

For too long the stereotype Chinese manufacturer has been known for copying rather than innovating. It is therefore disappointing to see that most of the authorized EV producers are still developing cars based on old combustion vehicles. The failure of the permitting process to identify and authorize truly innovative companies to ensure a sustainable and dominant Chinese EV sector will be negative for the whole EV sector, we need companies such as Tesla, testing the boundaries set by traditional auto manufacturers.

At the end of the day, beauty is in the eye of the beholder so I would love to hear your comments on the state of China’s electric vehicle design in the comment section below.

Interested in learning more about Chinese electric vehicles? Download our fun and easy app below, flick the China switch and swipe left the models you don’t like, right the ones you do, enter the chat rooms and share your thoughts with the community.

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Be warned Big Auto, the China EV strategy is to dominate!

Be warned Big Auto, the China EV strategy is to dominate!

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The Chinese Government released its long-term development plan for the automotive sector on the 25th of April 2017, setting out the China EV strategy. The plan, presented by the Ministries of Science and Technology and Ministry of Industry and Information Technology in conjunction with National Development and Reform Commission, sets out how the country will ramp up the local EV sector and dominate the world market.

If successful the Chinese auto sector can leapfrog the dominance of the big auto companies, such as Toyota, VWBMW, Daimler, Ford, and GM. Big Auto has missed the boat on electric vehicles and therefore continue to downplay the technology as only a niche sector. Management boards of big auto companies are flip-flopping strategy as they try and come to grips with how to enter the market and to what extent they should invest in research in technology. BMW last week announced that EVs constituted 3% of its total sales for the first quarter of 2017 after a jump in EV sales of 50% (Top 5 EV News Week 18). With the release of the data, the company set out how it will introduce more models. 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 USA-Top-10-BEV-All-time wattev2buy2016). In the USA we have recently seen how newcomer Tesla is valued above Ford and GM by investors. The response by Big Auto and other detractors of EVs was that this is a temporary phenomenon, arguing that Tesla hardly produces one tenth of the vehicles any of the top brands does. If one look at total sales of Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs), it seems investors on the other hand value companies on their future ability to produce electric vehicles. If the same apply for Chinese brands, we can very quickly expect a Chinese brand to ascend the list of top auto brands.

 

According to the plan by the Chinese Government, it set a short-term target of EV sales of 2 million units locally by 2020 and at the same time elevate Chinese auto brands to be seen amongst the top ten electric vehicle brands globally. The medium term target is that EVs contribute 20% of the total annual fleet by 2025, which is a huge amount of cars. Measuring the movement in sales by brand in the table below we can already see the top Chinese EV brands, BAIC, SAIC, Geely Zhidou and JMC moving higher and two brands, BAIC and BYD in the top ten list for the first quarter 2017. Other evidence of Chinese companies investing heavily in the sector includes Chinese IT company, Tencent acquiring a significant stake in Tesla, sparking a rally in the stock.

china ev strategy

Measures by the Chinese Government to achieve the targets above include:

  • Financial and tax support for New Energy Vehicle (NEV) companies;
  • Making it easier for foreign companies to enter the Chinese market by improving foreign investment regulations and liberalizing the existing cap on foreign ownership stakes in joint venture enterprises;
  • Promoting R&D through incentives;
  • Subsidies to consumers through tax benefits;
  • The Chinese Government is further considering incentives for parts and components manufacturers, smart and connected cars and other fields that will help Chinese companies lead the future auto sector;
  • The Export-Import Bank of China will assist Chinese NEV companies to go global.

China already has experience of setting itself to dominate a sector and achieving set goals. Less than a decade ago the Chinese Government plotted to dominate the PV panel market and in the process brought down the price of energy production from renewables, killing some western PV manufacturers in coal plants in the process. Already we are seeing a deluge of battery cell plants being planned by the end of the decade in China. We can, therefore, expect the same domino effect as in the energy markets, taking out auto manufacturers that were slow to embrace electric vehicles.

Interested in learning more about Chinese electric vehicles? Download our fun and easy app below, flick the China switch and swipe left the models you don’t like, right the ones you do, enter the chat rooms and share your thoughts with the community.

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Aston Martin EV strategy hits a roadblock

Aston Martin EV strategy hits a roadblock

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It was just a matter of time for the newly formed partnership, barely five months old, between LeEco and Aston Martin hit the rocks, creating a roadblock for the Aston Martin EV strategy. Although none of the two companies officially announced the breakup of the Joint Venture to develop electric vehicle technology, China Money Network recently reported the suspension of the partnership by the British luxury carmaker.

wattev2buy aston martin rapid 2The terms of the JV was for LeEco to help with the development of low emission vehicle technologies and deliver a concept car within two years. The partnership was funded by China Equity and the Chinese President oversaw the signing of the agreement. It was expected that the concept car will produce more than 1,000hp. The partnership also extended to the Rapid E 2018 model which is expected late 2017 and would have incorporated the latest LeTv Internet of the Vehicle (IOV) system. It is uncertain how the breakdown in the partnership will impact on the release of the performance saloon.

Recently we reported that LeEco, the Chinese equivalent of Netflix and parent company of two EV start-ups, Faraday Future in the USA and LeSee in China, was forced to sell its Silicon Valley property, earmarked for its US headquarters. The sale, reported by Reuters, to Chinese property developer, Genzon Group, will provide the company with $260 million much-needed cash.

Both EV start-ups are known for making bold statements and big ticket announcements just to be followed by press reports of cash flow and funding problems. The announcement comes at a time when Faraday Future is battling to break ground on its plant in Northern Los Angeles. The company could not even pay the $21 million deposit to Aecon despite being offered $300 million by the local authorities for building the assembly plant there.

The 13-year-old LeEco is financially pressed on all fronts and founder, Jia Yeutling, was quoted by insiders referring to the cash flow problem as a “big company disease.” Rumors have also been flying that it was exciting its India operations and shares in its flagship unit, Leshi Internet Information and Technology Corp Beijing lost 25% of its value in five months. LeEco, which products include consumer electronics and cellphones, such as the LePro phone were able to raise $2.2 billion from Sunac China Holdings, a property developer. The funds are however not earmarked for LeEco‘s electric car division. Faraday Future is said to hold the patents to the technology, but recent reports state that the technology is in fact held by a separate company in the Cayman Islands, creating insecurity for investors and borrowers.

One might assume that an icon such as Aston Martin also took the reputational risk in consideration when entering into a partnership with an unproven start-up, but it seems Chinese cash was the deciding factor. The partnership was concluded at a time when a number of partnerships and equity transactions between British car makers and Chinese companies were entered into. Other transactions included investments by Geely in the London Taxi Company’s EV plant at Ansy, and Shanghai-listed Far East Smarter Energy Group investing in UK-based Detroit Electric for the manufacturing of the SP:01 EV. The transactions strengthen both the UK and Chinese positions in the electric vehicle market and created over 1,400 UK jobs.

We look forward to the official announcement by Aston Martin on the state of the partnership and how it will impact the release of the long-awaited RapidE. Aston Martin as recent as December stated that LeEco’s financial woes would not impact the JV or the release of the RapidE.

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Top 5 Electric Vehicle News Stories Week 15 2017

Top 5 Electric Vehicle News Stories Week 15 2017

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TOP EV NEWS #1 – UBER TO BOOST ELECTRIC VEHICLE MARKET

Increased support by ride-hailing companies such as Uber and Ola are becoming a big impetus for EV sales globally. This week Uber launched a program to incentivize many of its drivers to switch to electric vehicles. The program, driven by Uber owned leasing company, Xchange Leasing targets leasing up to 10% of all vehicles in Oregon as electric vehicles by 2019. The program follows on similar efforts in other countries by the company. In London, Uber is building a charging network to support a fleet of 150 electric vehicles, in Cape Town and Johannesburg the company deployed a fleet of BMW i3s on its uberGreen platform. UberGreen projects are also piloted in Lisbon, Madrid, and Paris. Uber is estimated to employ over a million drivers globally via its platform, a target of 10% will add a 100,000 electric vehicles, or just under 5% of the current EV fleet.

Other ride-hailing companies, such as the Softbank backed Ola in India, started to include electric vehicles in their business models. Ola CEO, Bhavish Aggarwal last week announced a pilot project for a large-scale rollout of electric vehicles. Ola’s pilot project includes thousands of EVs and a charging network. An indication of the magnitude of the project can be gleaned from a statement by Softbank Chairman, Masayoshi Son, made in December 2016, saying that Ola will roll out a million EVs over a five year period.

TOP EV NEWS #2 – CALIFORNIA TO TAX ELECTRIC VEHICLES

Various states in the USA had recently levied taxes or fees on electric vehicle owners, and more are expected to follow. The trend, which some claim to be a bid to recover investments in electric vehicle adoption and infrastructure, or due to pressure from lobby groups opposing electric vehicles. The most recent, and most surprising have been California, which will start levying a fee on electric car owners from 2020. Almost 50% of all electric vehicles in the USA is sold in California, and the state has been a big promoter for the adoption of the technology. The fee will consist of a $100 registration charge and an annual tax based on the value of the vehicle.

The fee, which the California legislature says is to fill the gap it would lose from lost gasoline taxes, in our opinion will not have a negative impact on EV sales when it is introduced in 2020. By the turn of the decade, EV prices will be very affordable, and the total cost of ownership is expected to remain below that of combustion vehicles.

TOP EV NEWS #3 – EVs AT THE NEW YORK AUTO SHOW

The New York Auto Show, from 14 April to 23  April, showcases all 30 electric vehicle models available in the state. Electric vehicles at the new York Auto Show 2017 includes the Plug-in Honda Clarity, Mercedes-Benz AMG GT Concept, and the Lucid Air, a luxury sedan which achieved an eye-watering 217mph on a recent test run.
New York recently announced a $2,000 rebate, totaling $55 million, as part of a $70 million incentive by Mayor Cuomo tp promote the adoption of electric vehicles. The state targets a goal of 40% emission reduction by 2030.

The BMW i3 was awarded the title as the World’s Best Urban Car, beating the Citroen C# and Suzuki Ignis.

TOP EV NEWS #4 – EVs AT SHANGHAI AUTO SHOW

The Shanghai Auto Show starts this week on the 21st and will run until the 28th of April. Electric vehicles at the show will include the Bentley EXP 12 Speed 6e, the Skoda Vision E-SUV Coupe, Buick Velite 5 PHEV which is based on the Bolt, the NIO EVE autonomous vision by NextEV, SAIC Roewe i6 compact, VW Concept SUV, and the Hybrid Kinetic H600. Also at the Shanghai Auto Show would be Isreali and Chery JV company Qoros, which will unveil the Qoros Model K-EV, built on the same hybrid electric powertrain as the Koenigsegg Regera supercar. Do you also find that the naming of the model is eerily similar to that of Tesla?

Volvo is also expected to unveil the Volvo XC40 at the Shanghai Auto Show, its latest PHEV SUV, which aims to compete with the Audi A3, Mercedes-Benz GLA and BMW X1.Volvo this week announced that it will produce its first electric vehicle in China, ready for the international market by 2019. Volvo is owned by Chinese automaker Geely since its acquisition from Ford in 2010. Geely last year launched a new brand, Lynk & Co, and accompanying model the Lynk & Co 01 SUV PHEV. Volvo will manufacture its new electric vehicle at the same plant as the Lynk & Co 01 SUV in southeast China. Volvo 90 and 60 series are also manufactured in China.

TOP EV NEWS #5 – APPLE TO TEST SELF-DRIVING CAR

Apple joined the growing number of companies authorized to test autonomous vehicles on California’s public roads. Tech companies have recently encroached on automakers territory, with 11 of the 21 companies on the list of permit holders authorized by the California DMV now being from the sector. Uber, a tech company, lost its permit in February 2017.

According to the permit Apple, based in Paulo Alto, is allowed to test three 2015 Lexus RX450h vehicles on public roads. According to the rules of the autonomous testing program, each vehicle should have two drivers, usually engineers, at all times in the vehicle.

It is not yet clear what Apple’s self-driving strategy is, news over the last two years have been conflicting, ranging from the company either following the Google route of not building car’s but only systems to the Tesla route, building an Apple iCar. The world’s most valuable tech company tagged its self-driving efforts as Project Titan.

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Top 5 Electric Vehicle News Stories Week 12 2017

Top 5 Electric Vehicle News Stories Week 12 2017

ONE


Geely’
s London Taxi Company (LTC) this week opened a dedicated 20,000 unit per year electric vehicle plant in the UK, bringing Geely‘s investment in the company to £325 million. The plant located in Antsy, Coventry is the first all-new vehicle manufacturing facility constructed in the UK for the last 10-years. The investment by Geely, the second investment from China in the UK sector over the last two weeks, will create more than 1,000 jobs, of which 230 will be engineering jobs. A couple of weeks back Shanghai-listed Far East Smarter Energy Group announced an investment in UK-based Detroit Electric for the manufacturing of the SP:01 EV, creating 400 jobs.

The taxi EV to be manufactured at the plant underwent stringent testing, including being exposed to extreme weather conditions while covering over 500,000 km / 310,000 miles. The London Taxi Company‘s research and development team of around 200 people, based at Antsy, have been developing the company’s lightweight EV platform. The platform together with Volvo’s electric car powertrain provides the basis for an ultra low emission commercial vehicle. The working relationship with Volvoanother Geely-owned company, provides further technical expertise to the LTC team. The commercial launch of the taxi is in the 4th quarter 2017 for the UK market and 2018 for the international market. 

London Taxi Company announced further that it would manufacturer a second vehicle at its new electric vehicle manufacturing facility. The company will produce a new range-extended Light Commercial Vehicle (LCV) EV for the international market, competing with the highly successful Renault Kangoo and Nissan e-NV200. Geely invested £30 million in research and development to bring the new LCV to market.

TWO

NextEV gets support for its autonomous car the NIO EVEBaidu Inc, the Chinese search engine this week led an investment round estimated at $600 million into NextEV.  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.

THREE

A trademark complaint in China filed by Chery Auto will hamper Mercedes-Benz new electric vehicle brand EQ‘s international aspirations. The Chery eQ, one of the most popular EV micro car’s in China over the last two years share too much similarity for the German automaker to be allowed to use the name in the worlds’ largest electric vehicle market. The Chery eQ sold around 25,000 units since it’s launch in 2015, making it one of the top 10 electric vehicles in the country. Mercedes-Benz launched the EQ brand at the Paris Auto Show in late 2016 to house all its electric vehicle products and services. One can only wonder how a large corporate could have let that one slide! The EQ brand stands for “Electric Intelligence” and is the spearhead for Daimler’s efforts to have electric vehicles represent between 15% and 25% of its global sales.

FOUR

Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd is eyeing both luxury electric vehicles comparable to Tesla under the Pininfarina brand and mass market vehicles. Mahindra’s MD, Mr. Pawan Goenka made the comments in an interview with the Indian publication Live Mint. According to Mr. Goenka, he does not foresee the Indian Government to go the subsidy route. It is, therefore, necessary for EV prices to come down between Rs40,000-50,000 (around $750) for it to make financial sense. He admitted that the company is currently losing money on EV’s but that Mahindra is in it for the long haul, and will remain committed to the sector. Mahindra is targeting the Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) markets for its EV business.

FIVE

BMW is shedding some lite on its short-term electric vehicle strategy, according to Reuters, citing CEO Harald Krüger. The German automaker hinted that the Mini could be the BMW mass-market electric car, competing with the Tesla Model 3 and Chevrolet Bolt, as the company targets over 100,000 EV sales for 2017, up from 62,000 in 2016. Read our full blog on the press release here.

Top 10 Electric Vehicle Brands: Dedication and focus win!

Top 10 Electric Vehicle Brands: Dedication and focus win!

Analyzing the Top 10 Electric Vehicle Brands

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.

 

Top 10 Electric Vehicle Brands as a percentage of the total market

Top 10 electric vehicle brands wattev2buyTop 10 electric vehicle brands wattev2buy

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.

 

 Top 10 Plug-In Electric Vehicle Brands

Top 10 EV Brands

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:

  • Chevrolet’s annual sales in 2016 are only marginally higher (1.7% CAGR) than it’s sales back in 2012, while the automaker nearly lost its position on the Top 10 list, regaining some stature in 2016 through a nearly doubling of its Chevrolet Volt sales.
  • Nissan remained successful with its only passenger model, the Nissan Leaf while sales of the commercial van, the  e-NV200 only amounts to around 8,500 units internationally. Having only one model over the period, however, cost the automaker its overall top spot to Tesla and BYD who had two models or more with multiple configurations.
  • Tesla’s overall position is significant, especially if one take into consideration the price point of its models compared to its competitors on the Top 10 list.
  • The rise of Tesla and BYD, being of the few companies which only focus on electric vehicles, goes to show the advantage dedicated and focussed EV manufacturers have over those that are tied to combustion vehicles. Both these companies are now busy with second and third generation products going into the third decade of the century, at a time when most competitors will only bring their first pure electric models to market.
  • Toyota has been the disappointment on the list, giving up the first-mover advantage it had with the Toyota Prius. Toyota is one of the automakers who’s strategy veered away from electric vehicles to Fuel Cell Vehicles. The company discontinued its Prius model in 2015 and brought it back in 2017, with hardly any significant increase in battery performance.
  • BMW’s strategy to early on bring Plug-in Hybrid versions off most of its models has helped the company climb in the rankings. Most of the sales of the German automaker can be attributed to the BMW i3 and BMW i3REx of which the company sold around 70,000 units internationally.
  • Ford is the other disappointing manufacturer, with the company completely disappearing off the list, even with two PHEV models and one BEV in its stable. The biggest reason for Ford’s disappointing performance is its lack of international sales outside of the USA and Canada.
  • Renault also lost in the rankings despite having various models due to limited international sales.
  • The Chinese dominance is evident from the number of Chinese-based auto manufacturers entering the list in 2016, with top performer BYD claiming the top spot in 2015 and 2016, taking the company to an overall third position. BYD’s success also proves Warren Buffets mastery, as the world’s second richest man invested in BYD back in 2008.
  • Note – The 2017 data is skewed with underperforming Chinese sales in January due to the Chinese New Year and the Chinese government clamping down on subsidy fraud. The 2017 data is further skewed with the inclusion of USA, Swedish, Norwegian and Dutch sales for February and only some countries January data being available at the time of going to press.

 

Top 10 Battery Electric Vehicle Brands

Top 10 BEV Brands wattEV2buy

Looking at the Top 10 Electric Vehicle Brands list when one only include Battery Electric Vehicles an entirely different picture emerges in many respects:

  • Most of the traditional “Big Auto” brands are missing from the list.
  • Chinese manufacturers, BYD, BAIC, Zotye, Chery, Kandi, JMC, and JAC, comprise six out of the Top 10 overall positions and seven of the Top 10 in 2016.
  • The Top 3 BEV manufacturers in 2016 correspond to the Top 3 overall for all EV’s sold in the previous table, confirming the importance of focussing on BEV’s.
  • VW has committed to a strategy shift towards electric vehicles, but it is evident judging from the 2016 data that the company needs to make hay not to fall short.

 

Electric Vehicles are entering the growth market phase in some countries

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 early movers top 10 electric vehiclesopinion 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