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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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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