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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The Swedish Electric Vehicle Market Sweden EV Sales for H1 2017

The Swedish Electric Vehicle Market Sweden EV Sales for H1 2017

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THE SWEDISH ELECTRIC VEHICLE MARKET H1 2017

Sweden EV Sales H1 2017, a summary

We look at the Top brands and models, the gainers and losers and how the battle between battery electric (BEV) and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) technologies play out in the summary of Sweden EV Sales H1 2017.

The highlights for Swedish electric car sales in H1 2017 was:

  • Swedish EV Sales grew by 35.2% Year-on-Year or by more than 2,100 units over the same period in 2016;
  • The Swedish EV sales got off to a great start in January setting the tone for the year. However, the following months saw the trend flattening off, albeit at slightly higher levels than 2016.
  • Plug-in hybrid vehicles seem to dominate the Sweden EV market, commanding over 70% of total EV registrations in Sweden during the first half of 2017.
  • Ten new models, most of them PHEVs, were available to consumers in this semester compared to the same period in 2016;
  • Volvo, the Swedish automaker was the worst performing brand in its home market, losing 25% of its sales compared to 2016, falling out of the list of Top 3 EV brands in Sweden.

The Swedish Electric Vehicle Market Sweden EV Sales for H1 2017

 

The Top Electric Vehicle Brands for 2017 H1 in Sweden

The Top 3 EV brands in Sweden for H1 2017 were VW, new entrant Mitsubishi and BMW. Most EV brands except Volvo and Peugeot showed gains in units sales compared to H1 2016. Hyundai entered the Swedish market with its Hyundai Ioniq BEV. Initial sales for the Ioniq was below average in a market which has a preference for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. Toyota re-entered the market with the new Prius but failed to get the same traction as it did in other markets. Tesla and Mitsubishi nearly doubled their sales from 2016. Sweden is on of the few markets where Mitsubishi showed positive growth with the aging Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV in 2017 and now makes up 23.24% of all EV registrations in Sweden. BMW maintained its third overall position with the support of its 330e, 225xe, and X5 xDrive models, more than compensating for waning sales in the BMW i3 model series. VW held on to the top spot, mostly due to the VW Passat GTE which accounted for 25% of all EV sales in Sweden during H1 2017.

The Swedish Electric Vehicle Market Sweden EV Sales for H1 2017

 

The Top Electric Vehicle Models for 2017 H1 in Sweden

Ten new EV models entered the Swedish EV market in the comparison between H1 2016 and H1 2017. Of the ten new EV models, eight were plug-in hybrids, and only the Tesla Model X made it on to the Top 10 list. Volvo launched two new plug-in models at the end of May in its home market, the Volvo XC60 T8 and Volvo S90 T8 PHEV. The XC60 sold 44 units and the larger S90 31 units. The Nissan Leaf still performed well considering the upgrade is expected early 2018. Most of the Mercedes-Benz models fared well except for its larger S550 and GLE550 models. The Daimler company could however not compete with its compatriot, BMW, who had more models in the smaller end of the scale. The BMW 330e, BMW i3, and BMW 225xe Active Tourer sold 813 units while the Mercedes-Benz B250e and Mercedes-Benz C350e could only muster a combined 130 units. The Tesla Model S still performed well in Sweden as opposed to the general trend where we see the sales flattening out in its main markets.

The Swedish Electric Vehicle Market Sweden EV Sales for H1 2017

 

Summary of EV sales in Sweden for 2017 H1, the losers

Volvo was the big loser in Sweden during the first half of 2017 despite having a home ground advantage and bringing two new models to market, albeit only in late May. Volvo’s two mainstay plug-in electric cars, the Volvo XC90 T8 and Volvo V60 PHEV, lost nearly a third of their respective sales to brands such as VW, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz.

The Swedish Electric Vehicle Market Sweden EV Sales for H1 2017

 

The battle between BEV and PHEV models in Sweden

Sweden has a definite preference for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. Of the ten new models released since the first half of 2016 in Sweden, eight were PHEVs. A total of 5,850 plug-in hybrid vehicles were sold, comprising 72% of the market while only 2,301 pure electric models were sold during the same period. The percentage breakdown of PHEV to BEV in H1 2017 is very similar to that of H1 2016, explaining why most new models released in Sweden were PHEVs despite a halving of the rebate on plug-in hybrids.

The Swedish Electric Vehicle Market Sweden EV Sales for H1 2017

In conclusion, even at a 3.4% of the national fleet (Q4 2016), electric vehicle sales in Sweden remains low compared to its neighbor Norway, which has an EV penetration of close to 30% (Q4 2016). The sluggish performance is linked to the Swedish EV incentive program which has been erratic, linked to a fixed amount of funding which has been depleted a couple of times. Also, the Swedish EV buyer does not get his/her rebate at the point of sale. The Swedish Transport Agency contacts owners after the purchase of the vehicle requesting the completion of a paper process after which they receive the rebate. The rebate of 40,000 kroner (~ $4,500) applied to BEVs and PHEVs up to October 2016 at which time it was halved for PHEVs.

Detailed breakdown of all electric vehicles sold in Sweden for the first half of 2017

The Swedish Electric Vehicle Market Sweden EV Sales for H1 2017

Base data supplied by EV Sales, all calculations, and data representations by wattEV2Buy.

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.

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Top 5 Electric Vehicle News Stories of Week 27 2017

Top 5 Electric Vehicle News Stories of Week 27 2017

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TOP EV NEWS #1 – DAIMLER AND BAIC TO DEVELOP EVs IN CHINA

Daimler and Chinese BAIC Motors this week agreed to increase the investment in the Sino-German Joint Venture, Beijing Benz Automotive Co (BBAC), to manufacture electric vehicles. The partners agreed to a further investment of 5 billion yuan (655 million euros / $735 million) at a signing of the heads of agreement in Berlin in the presence of German Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel and Chinese President Xi Jinping. The investment by the German automaker is a further commitment to electric vehicles as it implements the aggressive electric vehicle strategy. BBAC is the localization of the Mercedes-Benz brand and will see its first electric vehicle rolling off the production line in 2020.

In June 2017 both partners agreed to strengthen their strategic collaboration through investments for New Energy Vehicles (NEVs) in China. As part of the investment agreement, Daimler announced its intention to acquire a minority share in Beijing Electric Vehicle Co., Ltd. (BJEV), a subsidiary of the BAIC Group, with the purpose of strengthening strategic collaboration with BAIC in the NEV sector.

The investment will be used to extend the BBAC plant in Beijing, established in 2005 and already Daimler’s largest Mercedes-Benz passenger car production hub, to become a BEV production hub in China. The establishment of a BEV production hub will commence with the building of an eBattery factory, which would be Daimler’s first foreign location of its global battery production network. Daimler plans to invest one of the ten billion euro earmarked for its electric vehicle strategy in the global battery production network for Mercedes-Benz vehicles. The network already includes the site in Kamenz, Saxony, built in 2010, where a second state of the art battery factory is being built with an investment of around 500 million euros. Mercedes-Benz will source the cell for its battery plant in Beijing from Chinese suppliers.

Top 5 Electric Vehicle News Stories of Week 27 2017 daimler battery china

TOP EV NEWS #2 – ELON MUSK SHOWS TESLA MODEL 3 SN1

Tesla‘s Elon Musk announced last Sunday that production of the Tesla Model 3 would commence on Friday the 7th of July, two weeks ahead of schedule. Late Saturday evening Elon posted a tweet showing two pictures of the historic vehicle with serial number one that came off the production line. According to Elon Musk, the rule at Tesla is that the first person to pay the full price will get the first Tesla Model 3 SN1. He responded to a tweet that he has the first Roadster and Model X but not the first Model S. The average sales price for a Tesla Model 3 is estimated to be around $50,000 before incentives.

Top 5 Electric Vehicle News Stories of Week 27 2017 tesla model 3 sn1

TOP EV NEWS #3 – JUNE EV SALES POWER AHEAD IN TWO KEY MARKETS

Electric car sales in the USA and Norway showed healthy gains over the same period in 2016. US EV sales increased 16% over that of June 2016 while in Norway sales jumped 62% for the same period. Electric vehicle sales in Norway now stands at a record 42% of new vehicle sales. Total US EV sales for the year so far stands at around 90,000 units, 39% more than in the first half of 2016. Read our detailed breakdown of EV sales for H1 2017 in Norway and the USA by clicking on the following links.

Summary of EV sales in Norway H1 2017

Summary of USA EV Sales H1 2017

TOP EV NEWS #4 – DONGFENG TO FOCUS ON EVs & SUVs

The state-owned Chinese automaker Dongfeng, a top four vehicle producer in China, which primary strategy has historically been the production of localized cars of various international auto companies such as the PSA Group, Hyundai, Honda, Nissan, and Kia. The company’s in-house developed vehicles are sold under the Dongfeng Fengshen brand which up to now had little EV models. On the 3rd of July, the GM of Dongfeng Fengshen announced during the unveiling of its AX4 SUV that the company will focus on SUVs and EVs from now going forward. The GM, Mr. Lui Hong, did not specify if the vehicles will be based on the new AX4 SUV, AX7 or the E70.

TOP EV NEWS #5 – VW DEVELOPING ROBOTS TO CHARGE EVs

VW and robotics firm Kuka this week signed a new co-operation agreement to develop robot-based innovations for all-electric and autonomous automobiles. The new agreement will expand the existing e-smart Connect project which includes a practical and user-friendly solution for charging high-voltage batteries of electric vehicles pictured here charging the VW GenE research vehicle. The Kuka developed charger is a charging solution developed for parking garages.

Top 5 Electric Vehicle News Stories of Week 27 2017 vw robots chargingThe Volkswagen Group is planning a strategic e-mobility offensive in the course of realigning its drive strategy. By the end of 2018, more than ten new electrified models will be launched on the market. A further 30 models will follow by 2025. These will be all-electric battery-powered vehicles. In parallel, Porsche will manage the ongoing expansion of infrastructure for quick-charging stations. The Volkswagen Group is providing a vision for autonomous driving of the future with the “Sedric” concept car. Audi recently established Autonomous Intelligent Driving GmbH for self-drive systems. This company is carrying out work for the entire Volkswagen Group.

 

KUKA AG is one of the biggest providers of intelligent automation solutions and is the world’s leading manufacturer of production plants in the automobile industry. The Group’s own Research Department headquartered in Augsburg lays the technological fundamentals for innovations in industrial production and service robotics.

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German EV sales up 82% year to date April 2017

German EV sales up 82% year to date April 2017

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German ev-sales-april-graph

The pace of German electric vehicle sales just keeps on accelerating as the country’s April EV sales jumped 119% compared to the previous April, bringing the year-to-date increase to 82%, up from 77% in March. Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV) maintained a slight lead over Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV) with 6,843 units sold vs. 6,728. Plug-in Hybrids were, however, the leading technology for the month of April with wattev2buy-german-ev-sales-april-17-brands-1,953 units sold vs. 1,587.

The Top EV brand in Germany is BMW, taking the crown from VW. The BMW i3, which kept on to its second position overall and the BMW 225xe Active Tourer accounted for nearly 80% of the German automaker’s total sales. Significant of the BMW i3 sales is that the consumer is shifting away from the i3 REx range extended PHEV, last years preferred variant, to the pure electric version. The ratio in 2016 was 474 i3 REx to 216 i3 BEV vs. 897 BEV to 551 REx now. The shift towards the pure electric version is an indication that consumers are getting more comfortable with the technology and that range anxiety is becoming less of a deterrent. Surprising is that Nissan lost a lot of ground in Germany, this was due to the fall in Nissan Leaf sales. The popular, yet dated Leaf, has been able to hold its commanding position in most other markets, so we have to ask the question if Germany is a sign of what’s to come. Nissan teased some pictures of the new Leaf, expected in 2018 this week. The VW brand was one of the other losers for the year-to-date, mostly due to falling Volkswagen Golf GTE and e-Golf sales. The new Renault Zoe Z.E. 40 was the most popular car in February and March but lost ground in April to the BMW i3, Audi A3, and Mitsubishi Outlander.

Smaller and cheaper models remained the top performers in Germany, but new models such as the Opel Ampera-e (rebadged Chevrolet Bolt), Hyundai Ionic and Mini Countryman SE ALL4 has yet to perform. In the luxury segment, Mercedes-Benz outsold Volvo, BMW, and Audi. Tesla remained the best performer in the luxury segment, maintaining its position, owning 10% of the total electric vehicle market in the country. The Toyota Prius, a top performer over the last couple of months in the USA and Japanese markets, is not yet available in the German market and it is unclear if it will be available here.

At this rate, Germany is expected to surpass its 2016 record with about four months to spare, a great achievement for the electric vehicle sector, boding well for global EV sales in 2017.

Please feel free to use the comment section below to share your thoughts on the German EV market and available models.

 

wattev2buy german ev sales april 2017 ytd

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Mercedes Benz announces competitive pricing for SmartED in the USA

Mercedes Benz announces competitive pricing for SmartED in the USA

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In February 2017 Mercedes-Benz USA announced that Daimler would stop selling combustion based Smart ForFour and ForTwo models in the USA and Canada and only focus on electric models. Today Mercedes-Benz announced the pricing for the 2017 Smart Fortwo electric drive coupe and Cabrio to be released in the summer for the US market.

The new pricing for the iconic city electric vehicle will start at only $23,800 and $28,000 for the Cabrio. Pricing excludes federal and state tax incentives, levies, and a $750 destination and delivery charge. The competitive pricing is a clear indication of the downward spiral of electric vehicle cost that will soon see the technology compete on an even keel with combustion engines. The new SmartED price is $1,200 lower than the 2016 model, and it includes an improved 7kW onboard charger as opposed to only 3.3kW for the previous model. The battery capacity remains the same at 17.6kWh, but Mercedes improved the range estimation from 68 miles to between 70 and 80 miles on a full charge as a result of a change in the battery design, which now has 96 cells as opposed to 93. Charging time has also decreased due to the improved charging system. It will now only tale 2.5 hours tp charge the vehicle to 80% and 3 hours for a full charge as opposed to 6 hours for a full charge.

Mercedes replaced the liquid-cooled permanent- magnet synchronous electric motor with an air-cooled three-phase synchronous electric motor producing 80hp and 118 lb-ft torque resulting in an improved top speed of 81mph up from 78mph.

The SmartED is offered in three trims, pure, passion and prime trims (pure n/a on Cabrio), the electric drive features new value-added packages and options, including an exclusive Electric Green Tridion cell color and optionally available Climate Package, which includes heated seats, a heated steering wheel and provides additional insulation for climate control, comfort, and efficiency. The new design of the vehicle made a huge impact on the turning radius of the SmartED, which now sports a turning radius of only 22.8ft, down from 28.7ft.

smartED 2017

 

 

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Top 5 Electric Vehicle News Stories of Week 20 2017

Top 5 Electric Vehicle News Stories of Week 20 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#3 – Toyota still not fully behind electric vehicles

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

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

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

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

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

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

#5 – Volvo to stop developing diesel engines

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

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Top 5 Electric Vehicle News Stories of Week 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.