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German Chancellor Angela Merkel this week reaffirmed her commitment to having 1 million EVs on the country’s road by 2020. In an interview with German YouTuber Lisa Sophie, Merkel reportedly said that the country has not abandoned its commitment to its one million EV goal by 2020 but that not enough was done up to now, signaling a possible ramp-up of the country’s efforts in the next two years. Merkel did not accept all of the blame for the slow pace but laid some of the responsibility on automakers which she doubts were sufficiently innovative enough to progress the technology.
Merkel will meet with local government officials on the 4th of Septemeber to discuss emission targets and indicated that around $600 million would be made available to improve urban transport infrastructure.
Although EV sales in Germany skyrocketed this year, the country so far only has just over 100,000 EVs registered. German EV sales data released this week showed that at the end of July nearly as much EVs have been sold as for the whole of 2016. EV sales in Germany are expected to continue its strong performance, supported by initiatives such as that of Nissan which announced that it would offer a scrapping bonus of EUR2000 ($2,348) for buyers converting from ICE vehicles to its Nissan Leaf or a Nissan e-NV200.
In related news, Chinese EV sales data showed a 30% rise in EV sales for the year to date over the corresponding period in 2016. It’s wattEV2buy’s forecast that China will reach its target of 2 million registered EVs by 2020, and even exceed it as more models become available in the next two years. China is already standing more than 800,000 units of which 200,000 has been registered this year alone. It is our belief that the Chinese EV market is set to reach its one million EV milestone by the end of the year, in light of historically stronger second half sales.
The Indian power producer, JSW Energy, a thermal power producer with nearly 5,000 MW of capacity is set to shift its business to align itself with more sustainable energy offering. Although this strategy is adopted by most power producers JSW Energy’s shift is more radical, as it includes investing around $550 million in new businesses including the manufacturing of an electric vehicle by 2020. In an interview with the Hindu BusinessLine, JSW Energy’s CEO admitted that the company is venturing into a new competitive space but that it bets on the growth in the vehicle sector in India due to the expected disruption by EVs. The company is set to work with technical partners and have a 60% local content goal.
As the rush to EVs starts to accelerate auto part companies are investing more and more in the development of new technologies, helping to advance electric vehicles. The Korean auto part company, Hyundai Mobis, this week announced that its the first South Korean company to develop a bi-directional on-board charger (OBC) for vehicle-to-grid (V2G) applications. Industry commentators have been quick to claim EVs V2G capability as a key attribute of the technology, but to date, no production vehicle comes equipped with the application as a standard feature. A contributing factor for the slow adoption of V2G technology is the slow development of software to optimise the charging / depleting of batteries so that drivers are not left stranded due to supplying the grid with power.
Other technology advancements unveiled this week include the German auto parts company, Continental, introducing a new lightweight wheel and braking concept for EVs. In a press release by the company highlighted the technology as follows:
As the push for cleaner cities drives the EV revolution forward, we are seeing more and more electric delivery vans entering the marketplace. Gone are the days of an EV delivery van being associated with the defunct Azure Connect or the small Renault Twizy Cargo which hardly had enough space or range to cover the average daily distance for delivery vehicles of 65 miles. The past month has seen the introduction of production versions of the Daimler Fuso E-Cell and the new Renault Kangoo ZE. This week two more delivery vehicles made the front pages. Ford and Deutsche Post subsidiary, Street Scooter, this week introduced its first jointly produced E-Van, the StreetScooter Work XL in Cologne. The Work XL is based on the Ford Transit Van and has a load capacity of 20 cubic meters, a modular battery system that could be sized from 30kWh to 90kWh for a range of between 80km and 200km. The 22kW onboard charger allows for an average charging time of three hours. Each WORK XL could save around five tonnes of CO2 and 1,900 liters of diesel fuel each year. StreetScooter will assemble around 150 units by the end of 2017 at its Aachen plant and ramp up to 2,500 units by the end of 2018. The Deutsche Post DHL Group is the largest operator of electric vehicles in Germany with a fleet of 3,000 StreetScooter Work and Work L vans and 10,500 pedelecs.
In the US, Chinese owned and Californian based EV start-up, Chanje, announced that it would introduce its first medium size fully electric delivery vehicle, the V8070 by the end of the year. The V8070, below on the right, has a 100-mile range with a 6,000lbs payload and 7.2kW onboard charger. Chanje has raised funding of $1 billion from various partners including Hong Kong-based FDG Electric Vehicles Limited which manufacturers the Yangtze EV in China.
As the race for electric vehicles hots up so it does for autonomous vehicles as car makers try and regain the edge it lost in the EV sector to tech start-ups. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), dead-last in the EV race, this week joined the BMW Intel self-driving car alliance as the company gears-up to produce self-driving cars by 2021. The BMW led alliance also includes Intel’s recently acquired Israeli tech company, Mobileye, Delphi Automotive, and Continental. Together the alliance will have 140 self-driving test vehicles on the roads by the end of 2017. Interestingly enough FCA is also a partner with Google’s Waymo where it developed and deployed autonomous Chrysler Pacifica minivans.
The Michigan Economic Development Corp funded American Center for Mobility announced that it will start operating its autonomous vehicle testing ground in December 2017. The converted Willow Run facility, first used for airplane testing, is a two-and a half-mile highway test loop. Michigan, which has been one of the pro-active states in self-driving development invested around $110 million in the conversion and expects to develop a second facility by 2019 to represent urban driving conditions.
US Chipmaker, NVIDIA, which led the push into autonomous technologies ahead of its competitor Intel, this week announced its investment in two-year old Chinese self-driving truck start-up TuSimple. The undisclosed investment by NVIDIA was part of $20 million funding round led by Sina, the Chinese Social Media company. TuSimple recently completed a Level 4 autonomous trip from San Diego to Yuma, Arizona.
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:
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.
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.
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).
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.
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%.
The highlights for Norwegian electric car sales in H1 2017 was:
We saw very big changes in the Top 3 electric vehicle brands in Norway with only VW Group retaining its Top position, albeit with lower sales in its mass-market VW brand. Japanese automakers, Mitsubishi and Nissan were pushed from the Top 3 by German luxury automakers BMW and Daimler. Tesla sales also surpassed that of Mitsubishi and Nissan, with a strong performance by the Tesla Model X more than offsetting the slide in Tesla Model S sales. Tesla now commands over 11% of the total EV market in Norway.
French automakers Renault, Peugeot and Citroën gave up positions to their peers as Hyundai and GM entered the market with the new Ioniq and Opel Ampera-e (Bolt EV) mass-market EVs. It is disappointing that first movers such as the PSA Group grew too comfortable supplying the same models for the past 5 years without preparing a response to longer range mass-market vehicles. Toyota has not achieved the same stellar sales in Norway with the new Toyota Prius as it did in some of its other markets.
The Top 10 gainers in sales growth over 2016 were mostly plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEV) while the top selling vehicles by units were mostly battery electric vehicles (BEV). The BMW i3 rose a healthy eight positions and ate into the sales of the VW e-Golf, VW e-Up, VW Golf GTE, Audi A3 e-tron, and Nissan Leaf. Norway is now the second best market, after the USA, for the German manufactured BMW i3 accounting for 8% of all electric vehicles on the country’s roads. The Tesla Model X performed very well, helping Tesla to nearly double its sales in Norway. The rise of the Model X, now the best performing luxury EV in Norway, came at the expense of the BMW X5 xDrive and Mitsubishi Outlander. Luxury brands Daimler and BMW‘s large selection of PHEV models performed well in Norway with the Mercedes GLC350e helping Daimler to be the leader in the luxury class over BMW. It is only Daimler’s lack of an answer to the BMW i3 that kept the automaker in the third spot overall.
The VW brand sold 1,540 units less than last year across the VW Golf GTE, VW e-Golf, and VW e-Up models. The VW Group lost nearly 2,000 units in total if one should factor in the sales loss from the Audi A3 e-tron. The biggest overall loser was the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV which sold 1,040 units less than the same period in 2016. The Tesla Model S is following the same trend as we see in many other countries, losing 31% or selling 388 units less than last year.
Pure electric vehicles (BEVs) extended their lead over plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEV) to 20.6% from 17.3% in H1 2016 despite having fewer models to offer. A total of 14,753 BEVs sold in the first-half of 2017 in Norway compared to 12,231 PHEVs. For our calculation, we included the BMW i3 REx as a BEV since we don’t have an accurate breakdown of BMW i3 sales between the BEV and range extended version.
Bloomberg released an unconfirmed report on Tuesday that the Chinese Government would place a moratorium on the release of EV production certificates as the country tries to manage the sustainability of the sector. Although the report remained unconfirmed at the time of going to press shares of automakers with issued permits rallied on the news.
In 2016 the Chinese Government announced that it would limit the number of EVs produced by regulating the sector through the issue of production certificates. The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), a body that oversees investments in the centrally managed economy, announced that only ten permits would be issued to produce EVs. At the time a much as 200 companies, including 30 IT companies, had business plans to profit from the government’s program to promote electric vehicles. It was estimated that the anticipated production would far exceed 50 million units per year. The Government further feared that the rush of newcomers to the industry would lead to inferior products harming the sustainability of its strategy to dominate the EV sector.
In May 2017 I published an article on the permitting process and the products and strategies of companies with issued production certificates. At the time Shenzhen GreenWheel received the 14th permit, allowing the company to produce 50,000 per annum. Since then a 15th permit, possibly the last for the foreseeable future, was issued to the newly formed JAC/VW joint venture, granting a production certificate of 100,000 per annum.
The Chinese Government targets to add 2 million new energy vehicles to the national fleet per annum by 2020. In 2016 the country sold more than 500,000 taking the total of EVs on the country’s roads to over 800,000 units. Should the report hold true, it leaves the question what would happen to the business plans of companies such as LeEco and NextEV with much-publicised intentions to develop electric vehicles. As recent as February this year LeEco was forging ahead with breaking ground on its 200,000 plant in Deqing, Zhejiang Province, a $1.8 billion project. NextEV made big strides in electric and autonomous vehicle technology through its NIO brand, breaking production records and setting the first autonomous lap record in the process with its NIO EP9 sports car. The moratorium could very well be for a short while until the Chinese EV sectors show signs of recovering from its recent slump. The Chinese EV sector which showed double digit growth until 2016 grew only 7% for the year to date in 2017. If the moratorium is expected to last longer, the incumbents might look at approaching other countries to assist them in developing EV plants.
Click for a list of the Chinese automakers with EV production certificates and their models.
Honda released its mid-term strategy, Vision 2030, this week as the company plays catch-up to the rest of the market as most of the Japanese automaker’s competitors have already formulated strategies for autonomous and electric vehicles through 2025. Like most of its peers in Japan and Korea, Honda placed its bets on hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, losing valuable runway on the electric vehicle trajectory that most of the sector now find themselves on.
Reuters quoted CEO, Takahiro Hachigo “We’re going to place utmost priority on electrification and advanced safety technologies going forward,” as Honda acknowledged it must look beyond conventional cars to survive. The company targets to have new energy vehicles contribute two-thirds of its model range by 2030, up from 5% currently. Honda has employed nearly $7 billion in R&D spend by March 2018 to support its strategy.
The company further announced that it would unveil a model based on its new independently designed EV platform in the 3rd quarter of 2017. The company will also start selling the Honda Clarity EV in the USA for around $35,000 in the second half of 2017. Unfortunately, the expectations for the Honda Clarity to fail is high as it only has a range of 80 miles per charge, competing with the 2010 Nissan Leaf in 2018.
Henry Fisker, the EV pioneer behind “Tesla killed” (as opposed to Tesla killer) Fisker Karma this week, unveiled the design specification for its 2019 production vehicle the Fisker EMotion. The Fisker EMotion is expected to have a range of 400miles and a top speed of 161mph. The vehicle employs proprietary charging technology, the UltraCharger, that charges 100miles in 9 minutes. The vehicle is equipped with LIDAR autonomous hardware. Fisker will employ the same direct sales strategy as Tesla and service through “The Hybrid Shop,” an initiative with THS. THS is a specialty EV servicing company with 36 service centers in North America, targeting 400 globally by 2019. The company will release more information during the month of June and pre-ordering will open from June the 30th.
Longtime Nissan Chairman, Carlos Ghosn, this week commented that he does not see electric vehicle adoption equal to that of other nations soon. The Australian Governments lack of support for the sector has received widespread criticism from the auto sector recently. Mr. Ghosn was quoted by Australian publication, Drive, saying “The subsidies are important to jump-start the technology and help the technology reach a new level. I understand that your government is going to issue a new policy. I will be waiting [to see] what are the components of this policy.” Earlier this year Nissan Australia CEO Richard Emery lashed out at the Australian government over a lack of support for the EV sector, describing his dealings with the industry as ‘amateur hour.’
Other automakers have shared the same sentiment, this week BMW country chief, Mark Werner, according to Car Advice said at the launch of the plug-in hybrid 530e iPerformance that the government has “stuck their collective heads in the sand.” “Our government is so far behind in their view of climate change,” he said. “Australia has shocking emissions levels. Worse than what we would call non-industrialised or third-world countries.”
EV sales in Australia totaled less than a 1,000 vehicles in 2016, while the smaller neighbor, New Zealand sold close to 1,500 in the same period.
Mahindra Racing took two podium positions in the 7th race of the third season of the Formula E series held in Berlin on Saturday the 10th of June. The Mahindra team stands a very good chance to end 2nd in the series with five races remaining as it lies only 17 points behind the second place Audi team. Multi-season winner, Renault had an unfortunate race, with its ace Sebastian Buemi being disqualified due to a tire pressure infringement. Mahindra has been very consistent over the season with some podium finishes but has never been able to clinch the top position. The 8th race will be held today and bodes to be an exciting spectacle.
Renault and Powervault, the UK-based energy storage system manufacturer, announced a partnership to re-use electric vehicle (EV) batteries in home energy storage units. The saving to Powervault will make its storage system 30% cheaper, allowing its home storage system to become a financially viable solution to households across the UK.
Electric vehicle batteries are typically used until it depletes 20% of its capacity, after which it needs to be replaced, leaving a healthy portion of battery left for static battery applications, which are less demanding on the technology than the harsher requirements of transport applications. Typically an EVs battery can handle between 2,000 and 5,000 cycles or more depending on which supplier and what cell chemistry is used in the battery. BAIC models, for instance, using a LiFePO4 (Lithium Phosphate) based battery, guarantee 2000 cycles while the first Chevrolet Volt’s listed 5000 cycles. The Chevrolet Volt, however, electronically limits that only 65% of the battery is made available to the car to protect the battery, so to compare apples to apples, it would be better to compare throughput as appose to cycles.
Renault has already sold over 100,000 electric vehicles between its Zoe, Twizy, Kangoo and Fluence models, of which 25,000 are older than four years. Renault’s EV business model includes leasing its batteries to customers. Extending the usage of its batteries through a second-life application will provide Renault with a better return on investment and hopefully in future bring down the price of batteries faster.
According to the press release, Powervault will place 50 units on trail at existing customers who already have the company’s solar panels installed. The trial will explore the technical performance of second life batteries as well as customer reaction to home energy storage to help develop a roll-out strategy for the mass-market. The trial will be run with eligible customers of M&S Energy, plus social housing tenants and schools in the South East.
The relatively high cost of Home Storage Systems has until recently made little financial sense, with payback periods from savings overshooting the useful life of the system. Bringing system cost down to an acceptable payback of between five and seven years is seen as the holy grail for system manufacturers and homeowners.
Other EV manufacturers have already pursued business plans for second life batteries in Battery Home Systems with or without Solar. In June 2016 Nissan and Eaton installed an Energy Storage Solution in France, created from “second life” Nissan Leaf batteries. Nissan installed the Energy Storage Solution at WEBaxys, a data center. In the same month, BMW announced that it would follow Daimler, Nissan, and Tesla in creating second life energy storage systems for residential and commercial use. Second life battery systems would not have the same warranties as new systems.
Extending the life of EV batteries will also result in lower recycling related cost and overall optimize the use of the battery. Second Life applications and applications such as Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G), where an EV owner sells power back to the grid, makes electric vehicles much more appealing and blows in the face of the technologies detractors.
Interested in learning more about Chinese electric vehicles? Download our fun and easy app below, flick the switch to your preferred option 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.
Navigant Research placed Ford and GM at the top of its autonomous driving leaderboard, surprisingly far above Waymo (7th), the pioneer of autonomous driving. Waymo was only listed as a contender, and Tesla who has already clocked over 300 million miles in Autopilot (Level 2 Autonomy) did not make the Top 10 list. Waymo, not aiming to develop a car, but rather focusing on autonomous technology has partnered with Chrysler and Ford on testing autonomous technology.Making Navigant’s findings even more surprising to us is that
Making Navigant’s findings even more surprising to us is that Waymo performed exceptionally well compared to other automakers on the list when comparing across all permit holders allowed to test autonomous tech on Californias public roads. According to CA DMV regulations, each permit holder must annually file a disengagement report, reflecting the number of events where a driver essentially has to take over from the vehicle’s autonomous mode to either prevent a traffic incident or where the system fails. Waymo posted a record 0.2 disengagements per 1,000 miles in its 2016. For a breakdown of each permit holders testing in California read our recent blog providing detailed analysis. The table below shows a summary of all the permit holders in the CA DMV program’s disengagements per 1,000 miles.
Despite Tesla aiming to have a market ready Level 5 autonomous product by the end of the year, it is only listed as a contender. Tesla is criticized by some, for being too aggressive, using its customers as guinea pigs for its AutoPilot software.
Not surprising though is that Uber features on the bottom end of the list, the controversial ride-hailing company has been in the news lately for losing its right to test in San Francisco, being sued by Waymo and a crash in Tempe, Arizona, temporarily halting its pilot program.
TOP 5 EV NEWS #1 – UK EV SALES Q1 2017 BREAKS RECORDS
UK EV sales for the first quarter 2017 set new records, mostly on the back of Tesla sales. The quarter’s sales bring EV’s contribution up to 1.4% of the total vehicle fleet. The UK sales for Q1, traditionally the best performing quarter for UK car sales, was closely watched as a new Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) comes into play from the first of April 2017. The new VED rules apply for all vehicles except zero emission vehicles (ZEV). According to the VED, Internal Combustion Engine vehicles (ICE) will be liable for a levy of £1,550 spread over five years on all vehicles priced over £40,000.
Electric vehicle sales for March, which contributed nearly 70% of the quarter’s sales, rose a below average 7% on a year-to-year basis, lower than the 8.4% for the total new car market. Total EV sales for the quarter was around 11,900 units, some 880 units more than Q1 2016. A deeper analysis of the UK electric vehicle sales showed a significant rise of the Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) component, rising 34%, or around 800 units in March from the year before. Most of the 800 units can be attributed to Tesla’s massive sales drive, which led to a record 25,000 units being sold internationally, of which nearly 900, triple February’s sales, was sold in the UK during March 2017.
The improved performance of BEV vehicles compared to Plug-In Hybrid Electric vehicles (PHEV), showing a decrease of 5% to just under 5,000 units, corrects a trend since 2016 which saw 3-in-4 electric vehicles in the UK being PHEV’s.
All indications are that UK EV sales will breach the 100,000 unit mark, shared with only 7 other countries within the next couple of months. Recent surveys in the UK showed that most vehicle buyers are negative towards diesel vehicles due to diesel gate, a spectacular own goal by big auto and that 85% of vehicle owners now consider buying an EV, subject to them overcoming these EV related misconceptions.
TOP 5 EV NEWS #2 – AUDI & PORSCHE TO CO-OPERATE ON EV PLATFORM
VW sister companies, Audi and Porsche, to accelerate their respective electric vehicle strategies, this week announced that they would jointly develop a shared electric vehicle platform allowing the automakers a faster route to electric, connected and autonomous technology. The partnership will last til 2025. The German based VW Group‘s electric vehicle strategy is built on its MEB electric platform architecture, while Porsche targets the delivery of its first electric vehicle, the Mission E by 2020 and Audi, an electric SUV based on the e-Tron Quattro by 2018. Both vehicles will have various degrees of autonomy as part of its offering.
TOP 5 EV NEWS #3 – FORD’s CHINA STRATEGY
In the same week where Ford was dethroned by GM as the USA’s number two automaker, due to Tesla taking the top spot, the company released a new electric vehicle strategy for its Chinese operations. Ford, suffering from a shareholder revolt due to its lack of a convincing electric vehicle strategy and declining sales on Thursday announced that it targets 70% contribution from EV’s of its Chinese auto sales by 2025. The first phase of the strategy will be to produce a PHEV early 2018 together with its Chinese partner, Changan, also known as Chana. The company aims to have a small electric SUV within the next 5 years, capable of a battery electric range of 280 miles / 450km. The company still lacks a proper global electric vehicle strategy and the current attempt is too little and too late.
TOP 5 EV NEWS #4 – MAHINDRA & SSANGYONG ANNOUNCE EV
The Chairman of Indian automaker Mahindra and Mahindra, Anand Mahindra announced at the Seoul Motor Show this week that Mahindra and its Korean subsidiary SsangYong aims to develop a luxury electric vehicle by 2019, targeting entry into Chinese and US markets.
TOP 5 EV NEWS #5 – NAVIGANT RESEARCH DISCOUNTS WAYMO AND TESLA AUTONOMOUS EFFORTS
Navigant Research placed Ford and GM at the top of its autonomous driving leaderboard, surprisingly far above Waymo (7th), the pioneer of autonomous driving. Waymo was only listed as a contender, and Tesla who has already clocked over 300 million miles in Autopilot (Level 2 Autonomy) did not make the Top 10 list. Waymo, not aiming to develop a car, but rather focusing on autonomous technology has partnered with Chrysler and Ford on testing autonomous technology. Making Navigant’s findings even more surprising to us is that Waymo performed exceptionally well compared to other automakers on the list when comparing across all permit holders allowed to test autonomous tech on Californias public roads. According to CA DMV regulations, each permit holder must annually file a disengagement report, reflecting the number of events where a driver essentially has to take over from the vehicle’s autonomous mode to either prevent a traffic incident or where the system fails. Waymo posted a record 0.2 disengagements per 1,000 miles in its 2016. For a breakdown of each permit holders testing in California read our recent blog providing detailed analysis.
Navigant’s criteria are based on the following ten factors; vision, go-to-market strategy, partners, production strategy, technology, sales, marketing, and distribution, product capability, product quality and reliability, product portfolio and staying power. The Top Ten on Navigant’s list are Ford, GM, Renault–Nissan Alliance, Daimler, Volkswagen Group, BMW, Waymo, Volvo/Autoliv/Zenuity, Delphi and Hyundai Motor Group.
Despite Tesla aiming to have a market ready Level 5 autonomous product by the end of the year, it is only listed as a contender. Tesla is criticized by some, for being too aggressive, using its customers as guinea pigs for its AutoPilot software. Not surprising though is that Uber features on the bottom end of the list, the controversial ride-hailing company has been in the news lately for losing its right to test in San Francisco, being sued by Waymo and a crash in Tempe, Arizona, temporarily halting its pilot program.
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.
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.
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:
Looking at the Top 10 Electric Vehicle Brands list when one only include Battery Electric Vehicles an entirely different picture emerges in many respects:
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 opinion 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
The disruption caused by the threat of electric vehicles is finally hitting home, and in no other week has pushback by the proxies of the affected parties been so prominent than the past week. The efforts to block the march of electric vehicles has reached new heights as old foes Big Corn, and Big Oil agreed to work together in defending the transportation fuel sector. Reuters reports the Renewable Fuel Association (AFR) and American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) will target electric vehicle incentives to “level” the playing fields. We hope the AFR and AFPM remember all the subsidies and support they received over the years to “level” the playing fields.
In the USA report by the Sierra Club, a respected environmental association, reported on the drive by various States to penalize electric vehicle owners. The report speculates that the efforts, already successful in ten States and considered in a further six, is backed by the Oil Industry. Only four States have been successful in blocking the attack. Penalties in the form of fees varying between $50 and $300 per year are levied on drivers. In a separate effort, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers asked the newly Trump appointed Environmental Protection Agency Tsar, Scott Pruitt, to withdraw the Obama era agreed on 54.5MPG emissions benchmark required by 2025. The AAM’s reasoning is that achieving the standard is too costly and that the consumer’s demand is not there to support such a stringent rule. Really? Our question to the AAM is how can the consumer demand something if the supply of something else is stuffed down their throats?
In Hong Kong, a mainstay market for Tesla, the Financial Secretary in his budget announced that the 20-year-old tax incentive for first time EV registrations would be scrapped, and the tax discount on electric vehicles be capped at around $12,500. The result is that the cost of a Tesla Model S could nearly double in price. The move is in a bid to limit overall car ownership.
Following on the news three weeks ago that Scotland Yard would acquire electric vehicles for operational purposes the Swedish Police announced the testing of electric vehicles to phase out all fossil fuel use by 2030. Ten cars are tested in three cities in the country. The test would be to utilize the cars as administrative vehicles.
Porsche will unveil a powerful Panamera E-Hybrid; Various auto manufacturers this week teased their hybrid and electric vehicle lineup for the Geneva Auto Show to be held from the 9th to 19th of March 2017. The vehicles include:
SEAT, the Volkswagen-owned auto manufacturer will display an electric vehicle prototype at this week’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. The vehicle includes it’s Digital Access technology, replacing a key with a mobile phone. The first pilot will kick-off at its factory in Spain, using employees. Connectivity and the Internet of the Vehicle are bringing the world of mobile ever closer to the auto sector.
#1 – DIY EVs gets a boost
Looking to develop your own electric vehicle? Yes, you can, with Italian OSVehicle’s modular platform providing an open source hardware platform from as little as $12,000. Add to that George Hotz’s self-driving car kit which he plans to market through his company comma.ai at a price of $1,000, and you can build your own “ai-chauffeur” driven zero emission vehicle. The ability to use open source technology will lower the barriers to entry for entrepreneurs and hobbyists alike, providing further disruption to the auto industry.
#2 – Tesla poaches from Apple
Tesla bags two senior executives from Apple. The world’s leading electric vehicle manufacturer this month acquired Chris Lattner, responsible for Apple’s Swift application software head, and Matt Casebolt, senior director of Design for Apple’s Mac range and listed on over 50 Apple patents. Matt is filling the position of Senior Director Engineering, Closures and Mechanisms at Tesla, while Chris’s experience in leading an over 200 strong engineering team would stand him in good stead as Vice President of Autopilot Software.
#3 – USA DOT creates Automation Committee
The USA Department of Transportation this week announced the formation of an Automation Committee to oversee its self-driving policy, with Tesla, a clear leader in the sector not on it. Self-driving vehicles and electric vehicles are not necessarily mutually inclusive as the technology could be applied to all drive trains. However, the appointment of GM CEO Mary Barra as Co-Chair of the committee could be a clear indication of which tail is wagging the dog. GM recently opposed the new EPA emission requirements of 54.5 mpg by 2025. Follow the link for the complete list.
#4 – FIAT on notice for cheating on emission tests
Another one bites the dust as the Environmental Protection Agency this week put FiatChrysler on notice for cheating on its emission tests. Diesel Gate might be the best own inflicted wound by big auto fighting electric vehicles, forcing big brands such as Volkswagen and Mitsubishi to change strategy from pushing back to embracing the technology. Now Fiat’s CEO, Sergio Marchionne, who has been a fervent EV hater might be forced out or to change his stance.
#5 – Renault adds to its EV model range
Renault this week announced two more additions to its electric vehicle model range, both light commercial vehicles. Renault is one of the few automakers in Europe to commit early on to electric vehicles with models such as the Renault ZOE and Twizy. The two new models will be an improved version of the Kangoo ZE delivery van and a full-size commercial van, the Master ZE. Both vehicles will have an improved 33kWh battery pack and 7kW AC Charger.