No Results Found
The page you requested could not be found. Try refining your search, or use the navigation above to locate the post.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The 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.
The highlights for USA electric car sales in H1 2017 was:
There are no surprises in the Top 3 EV brands with Tesla holding on to its lead over GM due to a 24% rise in Tesla Model X sales. GM could not dethrone Tesla even with a new model, the mass-market Chevrolet Bolt EV up its sleeve. Improved sales in the 2nd Quarter from the Ford Fusion Energi and C-Max Energi helped the brand retain its third position fighting off the strong performance of Toyota with the new Toyota Prius which was placed third at the end of the first quarter.
Most brands showed improved sales growth over the first half of the year with only Ford, Volvo, and Mitsubishi showing declining sales. The Volkswagen Group showed a declining trend as the year progressed and mustered the lowest growth. The declining fortunes of the German automaker can be attributed to the Volkswagen e-Golf not being able to compete on range with the new mass-market Chevrolet Bolt being sold in the same price bracket. Chrysler showed the highest growth after Toyota buoyed by the new Chrysler Pacifica and great specials on its compliance car, the Fiat 500e. The results might have been better for the US automaker, but the Chrysler Pacifica launch was delayed and then impacted by recalls and plant closure due to battery problems.
Most of the existing models showed growth lower than the overall growth due to the big number of new models to the market. Surprisingly the Ford Focus and Fiat pure electric models outperformed the market showing that the public is becoming more comfortable with range issues and the continuously improving charging infrastructure is starting to have and effect on top of the financial incentives making EVs appealing.
European plug-in vehicles were the biggest losers in this half of 2017 with a number of the luxury PHEV models losing big. Volvo and BMW saw some of their relatively new models losing steam. Both the BMW x5 xDrive and Volvo XC90 T8, released in 2016, lost market share in favor of the Tesla Model X. The Tesla Model S sales have flatlined although it remained the top selling BEV model. It will be interesting to see how the new Daimler Smart ForTwo ED fares in the second half of 2017. The German automaker is relaunching the brand as electric only in the USA and Canada from this summer and will offer a slightly improved model at a marginally reduced $23,800 starting price before incentives.
Battery electric vehicles are still maintaining its lead over plug-in hybrids albeit at a lower margin. BEVs took six positions in the Top 10 EV sales for the USA in the first half of 2017. The ever increasing number of plug-in models benefits the technology in the short term as it competes with only a handful of pure electric models. The Plug-in hybrid category benefited mostly from the release of the new Toyota Prius and to a lesser extend the Chrysler Pacifica. The Tesla Models X and S constitute nearly 44% of all BEV models showing the company’s dominance in the sector. The commanding position will improve even more with the release of the Model 3 in the second half of 2017 which might add about 40,000 units depending on the production ramp-up. The release of the Tesla Model 3 and new Nissan Leaf, expected by the end of the year, should help pure electric vehicles outperform the more dirty plug-in hybrids in the second half.
The page you requested could not be found. Try refining your search, or use the navigation above to locate the post.
Up to now, news about VWs plans with its I.D. electric series have been sparse. The latest news on the VW I.D. strategy was about VW’s Chairman, Dr. Herbert Diess confirming the production of the I.D. Buzz. Dutch publication, Groen 7, this week provided a further glimpse of the VW strategy with the I.D EV model range which included two more models to join the three models already announced. VW will develop the I.D Lounge, an SUV and I.D AEROe, a sporty sedan exclusively for the US and Chinese markets. The I.D Lounge and I.D. AEROe will follow the I.D., I.D. Cross and I.D.Buzz models to hit the roads from 2019 to 2022. VW will produce the I.D. for the European market and the I.D. Cross for Europe and China. The market for the I.D.Buzz is yet to be defined.
All the I.D. models will be developed on VWs M.E.B platform. Golf replacement, the I.D. is expected in 2019 and promises a range of up to 600km from a 125kW electric motor. The last model in the range, the I.D. Buzz will have two electric motors with a combined output of 291kW and an acceleration of 0-100km/h in 5 seconds.
In related news the CEO of VW Group company Porsche, Mr. Oliver Blume said that half of all Porsche models would be electric by 2023. The Porsche Mission-E is expected in 2019/2020, followed by a BEV SUV Coupé. Porsche is preparing for the production of 60,000 electric vehicles per annum at its Zuffenhausen assembly plant.
Audi and German auto parts company, Schaeffler, partnered to develop a new powertrain for the ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport Formula E Race Team. The partnership will be around the development for the next three generations of the race car’s powertrain. The team has finished on the podium for the past two seasons and is again lying second in the third iteration of the ever popular event.
The VW JAC electric vehicles joint venture signed in Berlin at the start of June 2017 officially kicked off in Hefei, Anhui Province on the 29th of June 2017. The Chinese JV company, JAC Volkswagen Automobile Co., Ltd. with an initial investment of 5.6 billion Yuan ($740 million) will deliver its first electric car in January 2018. According to reports the first EV from the JV will be a fully electric SUV.
We have followed the Chinese “Netflix,” LeTVs, misadventures in the electric vehicle sector for the past year. LeTVs auto companies, Faraday Future in the USA and the LeEco in China, is well known for overpromising and underdelivering on its goals. The reason for the failure of the enterprises to make good on the hype created around it stems mostly from a cash crunch at the parent company, LeTV, due to it overextending itself in a wide range of projects. The founder of LeTV, Jia Yueting, had to personally jump in and save the two electric vehicles from faltering as groundbreaking of the Faraday Future ground to a halt while the launch of the FF91 at the CES 2017 flopped and the JV with Aston Martin was suspended. At the start of June, the Shenzhen Stock Exchange suspended the launch of the company’s RMB 2 billion bond which was supposed to provide cash flow to LeTV and its subsidiaries. This week Jia Yueting announced that LeTV would complete A-round financing by the end of the year to fund its vehicle projects housed under LeAuto. The funding will be used for mass production of electric vehicles. Jia Yeating stepped down recently as General Manager at LeTV and took a board position at LeAuto and FF Global. Faraday Future also clawed back some reputation this week as the FF91 prototype set a new production vehicle record at Pikes Peak.The FF91s time of 11 minutes 25.083 seconds record was 20 seconds faster than the previous record set by a modified Tesla Model S. Should the funding fails it will most probably be the end of the projects as LeTV has racked up large debts already resulting in large-scale layoffs and halting of projects.
The Korean auto manufacturer, Ssangyong, 72.85% owned by Indian conglomerate Mahindra and Mahindra announced that it will produce of an electric SUV by 2020. The SUV is to be assembled at the 250,000 unit plant in Pyeongtaek South Korea. and promises a range of 300km with a top speed of 150km/h. Ssangyong earmarked 1 trillion won ($1 billion) for the development of SUVs and EVs over the next four years. The parent Mahindra & Mahindra will support the development with funds and technical assistance.
The international promotion of electric vehicles got another leg up this week with the Governments of Thailand and New Zealand announcing incentives to promote the adoption of electric vehicles.
The Thai government set preferential excise duties for electric vehicles as depicted in the slide by the Tax Authority below. Electric Vehicles is one of 10 target industries in Thailand, which is an international auto manufacturing hub. The preferential rates will apply through 2025 and will extend to include EVs and ten EV parts. The ten EV components to benefit from the incentive are batteries, traction motors, battery management services, DC/DC converters, inverters, portable electric vehicle chargers, electrical circuit breakers and EV smart charging systems according to the Bangkok Post.
The New Zealand legislature passed the Energy Innovation Amendment Bill to implement sections of the New Zealand Governments Electric Vehicles Program amongst other changes. The amendment comes at a time when New Zealand EV sales for May 2017 smashed records. The amendments make provision for the exemption of EVs from road charges and enabling bylaws allowing special lanes for EVs.
In related news, the US state of Nevada passed Assembly Bill 69 which authorizes the testing of autonomous vehicles on its public roads. Nevada joins an ever increasing list of States allowing for the testing of self-driving cars on public roads. States that already allows for the testing on public roads include Texas, California, Michigan and New York.
EV sales in the USA are up 43% Year-to-Date after sales in May resulted in it being the second best month for electric cars for the year so far. May 2017 sales outperformed May 2016 with a 46% increase. The tussle between BEVs and PHEVs is to close to call as pure electric vehicles continue giving ground on the lead at had over PHEVs, with PHEVs outselling BEVs in May with 8,325 units vs. 8,243 pure electric vehicles which include the BMW i3 REx.
The best performing electric vehicle for the month was the Toyota Prius, dethroning the Chevrolet Bolt for the first time this year. The Tesla Model S also dropped out of the top 3, a rare occurrence, making way for its sibling, the Tesla Model X. The Hyundai Ionic and Chrysler Pacifica both climbed five or more positions for the year, with the Chevrolet Bolt increased its units sold with 21% on April but remaining in the 5th place overall for the year. The big losers for May 2017 were the Mercedes C350e, Audi A3 e-tron, and Ford Focus Electric.
The Top 3 brands remained the same as this time last year with Tesla, Chevrolet and Ford taking the top three positions. The rest of the brands had to make way for the rise of Toyota, taking the 4th place. Volvo gave up the most ground, falling from 9th to 12th spot.
Toyota confirmed this weekend that it divested from Tesla as it exited the co-operating agreement the companies had on electric vehicle technology. Toyota acquired 3.15% in Tesla in 2010 for $40.5 million, a stake which would have been worth $1.75 billion at Friday’s close. According to the Japan Times Toyota announced that the sale of the stake, which happened in trances between October 2014 and the end of 2016, is “a part of a regular review of business alliances.” The partnership resulted in the development of an electric Toyota RAV 4, which was abandoned as the company changed course away from EVs to hydrogen fuel cell technologies.
The Indian Government’s Department of Energy posted a blog in which it reiterates its ambition to only sell EVs by 2030 through its National Electric Mobility Mission Plan on which we reported on in Week 17. The Government’s plan set a target of between 6 and 7 million units by 2020 already, which seems overly ambitious as EV sales have yet to pick-up in the country. One if its largest automakers Mahindra and Mahindra last week announced that it only now plans to increase its battery production capacity from 500 units to 5,000 a month, a far cry from what should be needed if it wants to produce its fair share of 6 million units. The blog sees that EVs will reach parity with ICE vehicles by 2022. Bloomberg New Energy Finance in a report last week saw this only happening in 2025. Automakers such as Mahindra is reluctant to overly invest in EV manufacturing infrastructure while the prices of ICE cars remain cheaper than EVs in a country where the consumer is very price sensitive. The Indian Government is yet to definitively announce what financial contribution it will make towards achieving the goals, other than saying it acknowledges that it will need to carry the industry for the first three years.
Chinese Premier, Li Keqiang, and German Chancellor, Angela Merkel met on Thursday to discuss various trade issues between the two countries, amongst others the impact of the China’s ZEV-like quota on German automaker’s expansion plans in the Asian country. The Chinese Government proposed that car manufacturer had to achieve a level of 8% EV sales by 2018. Although not confirmed Reuters on Friday reported that the Chinese Government agreed to delay the quota to 2019 for German companies but that they should ramp up EV deliveries at a later date.
As the electric vehicle sales in neighboring Norway climbed 30% year-on-year for the month of May the CEO of Russia’s largest oil company, Rosneft PJSC, Igor Sechin denounced EVs as overrated. Mr. Sechin was quoted by Bloomberg during a speech at the St.Petersburg International Economic Forum saying Tesla is overvalued and EVs are “not as popular as had been expected” in Europe’s biggest economies. Mr. Sechin went further saying “The market’s assessment of the prospects of electric car producers, in our view, is significantly overestimated,” and that “Until the electric transport industry becomes as user-friendly and attractive for consumers as the cars with internal combustion engines, the prospects for electric vehicles remain largely uncertain.” Rosneft that had 2015 revenues of nearly $100 billion market value was clipped by that of Tesla at the end of May 2017. Tesla shares were up nearly 60% for the year while Rosneft was down 20%.
We acknowledge Donald Trump leaving the Paris Climate Pact but took a decision to rather report on other EV related stories of the week.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The highlights for USA electric car sales in Q1 2017 was:
There are no surprises in the Top 3 Electric Vehicle Brands as Tesla remained on top, due to increase sales of the Tesla Model X, and GM and Toyota brought new models to book. Quarter 1 2017 was the first full quarter for the Chevrolet Bolt, the world’s first mass-market car. The Chevrolet Bolt‘s performance was rather disappointing, with sales dropping from a January high. The reason can be one of two, either GM‘s slow roll-out is to blame, or most buyers are waiting for the Tesla Model 3. Toyota’s only Plug-In Hybrid (PHEV) vehicle, the Toyota Prius Premium, performed remarkably well, taking in consideration that the battery capacity and range does not offer a real advantage to its competitors.
The bad boy on the block was Ford, barely hanging on to the Top 5 list of electric cars. Were it not for Porsche’s bad performance in the VW Group; the German automaker would have unseated Ford in the Top 5. BMW dropped out of the Top 5 list as Toyota entered the list in the third position. Daimler showed commendable improvement while Hyundai and Volvo joined Ford on the losing side. Nissan still shows consistent growth with its only electric vehicle, the Nissan Leaf.
Of the new electric vehicle models that came to market in this quarter, the Toyota Prius Premium, a PHEV outperformed GM‘s Chevrolet Bolt, a BEV by nearly 30%, a disappointing performance for the first mass-market electric vehicle. Both Mercedes-Benz and BMW had two more models in this quarter compared to 2016, with the Mercedes-Benz C350e and Mercedes-Benz GLE 550e outselling the BMW 330e and BMW 740e.
The Mercedes Benz S550 PHEV, BMW i3 2017 and Tesla Model X were the best performing existing models, although for the BMW i3, its the 50% improvement in battery capacity that attributed to its increase in sales.
The Tesla Model S sales remained flat on a year-to-year basis, despite continued improvements in its software and hardware.
Sales of the Cadillac ELR fizzled out completely in anticipation of the release of the Cadillac CT6 PHEV this month. Both the Porsche Cayenne and Panamera showed big losses in sales from a year ago, impacting on total growth for the VW Group. Judging from the Ford models sales slump, it is clear the century-old automaker needs to reassess it electric vehicle strategy. The big drop in the Volvo XC90 T8 can be attributed to the challenge faced by all automakers coming late to the electric vehicle party. To enter the electric vehicle market, lagging brands alter existing models to include batteries but in the process lose performance as drivers complain about smaller fuel tanks.
Battery Electric Vehicle’s (BEV), of which nearly half is constituted by the two Tesla models, outperformed plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. Over 20,000 BEV units were sold in the first quarter of 2017 compared to just under 15,000 a year ago. Q1 2017’s 19.2% increase in sales showed a slight improvement for the technology on Q1 2016 when BEV outsold PHEV with 17%. The USA is one of the few countries where BEV vehicles outsold PHEV’s since 2016, read our blog on the Top 10 EV Markets.
In total there is 13 BEV models and 20 PHEV models available in the USA market in 2017 so far. Consumers had a choice of seven new PHEV models in Q1 2017 and one BEV compared to the same period in 2016.
New model’s coming to market in the next quarter include three plug-in hybrids, the Cadillac CT6 PHEV, BMW 530e, and the Porsche Panamera 4 E-H, while only one BEV, the Hyundai IONIQ Electric will be released, should there be no surprises from Tesla on the Model 3.
Please leave us a comment on your thoughts regarding the electric vehicle models available to the US consumer.
News from the past week shows the that the pendulum is swinging quicker than expected for electric vehicles. The results of two surveys in the UK this week was a clear indication that demand for electric vehicles is much more than most automakers anticipated. Google searches for the electric vehicles has also surged by 127%.
A survey by Venson Automotive Solutions shows that 85% of respondents from a survey in the UK are now seriously considering buying an EV. Reading between the lines, wattEV2Buy finds it significant that range is no longer the deterring factor when prospective buyers are considering buying an EV. For long, most respondents to such surveys cited range as overarching reason for not buying an EV. In the Venson Survey, a lack of charging stations was the biggest reason for prospective buyers to put off the buying decision. In a separate survey by Carbuyer, 61% of respondents said they would not buy diesel vehicles again because of “diesel gate,” the spectacular “own goal” by big auto. Diesel sales were down 9% in the UK for the month of February while plug-in vehicles rose by 49%.
Most automakers have caught on to the shift, but not aggressive enough, while others are being forced to produce plug-in electric vehicles. Labor organizations within Audi have asked management to build more electric vehicles, as some of the factory units fear missing out on the technology will lead to job losses. Hyundai was forced by shareholders to shift focus on Fuel Cell Hybrid Vehicles to plug-in electric vehicles, while Daimler has accelerated its massive $10 billion planned investment in EV’s. All these turnarounds in strategy pale in comparison to that of Sergio Marchionne, FIAT Chrysler‘s CEO, but more Hyundai, FIAT, and Daimler later in the post.
Hyundai admits electric vehicles are an imperative. During the Los Angeles Auto Show in 2016, the company said that it planned to have 14 new alternative vehicles in the US by 2020. The planned product mix include’s four plug-in hybrids, four electric and one hydrogen fuel cell model. Thursday Mr. Lee shed some more light on the company’s plans, indicating that the first fully electric vehicle planned for next year would be a small SUV. According to Mr. Lee, the SUV would have a range of 185 miles (300km). Although the company is developing its own dedicated platform, it can’t say when it would be ready. The platform is modeled after that of Tesla, with the batteries in the floor, allowing for more battery capacity and cabin space. It is clear from the announcement that the company is aggressively trying to catch up on lost ground.
Hyundai now expects the EV market to be around 10% of the global fleet by 2025, at which point Fuel Cell EV’s will take off. Hyundai’s luxury brand, Genesis also announced today that it would introduce a PHEV by 2019 and BEV by 2021.
With the run-up to the Formula E to be held in Mexico City today, Ferrari came out in support of the event. FIA’s Auto magazine quoted the CEO of FIAT Chrysler, one of the auto industries biggest naysayers of EV’s, Sergio Marchionne as follows in an interview:
“The first is that we need to be involved in Formula E because electrification via hybridization is going to be part of our future.”
“We have already developed a hybrid supercar, La Ferrari,” he said, “and on future Ferrari models we will leverage new technologies as well as electrification.”
And this from a man that came out vehemently against the technology, saying it will never catch on.
Daimler this week, after a board meeting in Berlin, announced that it would accelerate its $11 billion investment in electric vehicles by bringing it forward with three years from 2025, as announced last year to 2022. Reuters reported that the automaker’s aggressive stance are the result of it not being able to cut fleet emissions of 123gm CO2/km from 2015 to 2016 in Europe. Europe has set a very stringent target of 95gm CO2/km by 2020. Daimler’s own target for 2020 is 100gm CO2. The German automaker cites the popularity of SUV’s as the reason for it not cutting its emissions for the first time since 2007.
OSVehicle provides an open-source platform to hobbyists and other start-ups. Customers can have a full EV platform, the Tabby EVO, shipped between $12,500 and $19,500. OSVehicle claim start-ups can save $2 million and 3-years in Research and Development by going the open-source route. The open-source platform enables for larger disruption in mobility options using electric vehicles. Imagine adding George Hotz’s self-driving car kit which he plans to market through his company comma.ai at a price of $1,000, and you can build your own “ai-chauffeur” driven zero emission vehicle.
GM aims to use OSVehicle to develop its EDIT modular self-driving car based on the Chevy Bolt M1 platform. The decision was influenced by the ability of modular platforms to extend the lifespan of heavy use vehicles, such as ride sharing and hailing applications. OSVehicle‘s Yuki and Tin Hang Liu claim that through the use of modular architecture, car fleets can last ten times longer by enabling seamless hardware upgrades of self-driving and connected car technologies.
Picture: Genesis Concept introduced at New York Auto Show
NextEV gets support for its autonomous car the NIO EVE in the same week in which a funding crisis ankle taped another aspirational EV startup from China, Faraday Future, backed by a Chinese internet company, LeEco. Baidu Inc, the Chinese search engine this week led an investment round estimated at $600 million into NextEV. NextEV, a global startup as it calls itself, with offices in China, Germany, UK and the USA launched it’s auto brand NIO, in December 2016 in London. NextEV is also one of the first participants of the Formula E franchise held in various cities around the world to promote electric vehicles. NextEV has its roots in racing, founded in 2004 by the Chinese Minister of Sports with the intent to be a Chinese contender in A1 Grand Prix. The NextEV TCR team eventually ended up being one of the first teams to compete in Formula E, winning the driver’s title in the first season but came last in the second season. The exposure nonetheless is a good testing ground for technologies, gaining experience and marketing. NextEV’s Formula E team lies at a respectable fourth position in the overall team standings after the third round in the third season, held in Buenos Aires Argentina during February 2017.
NIO unveiled its autonomous vision, to be released in the USA in 2020, the NIO EVE, at a world premiere event during the SXSW 2017 in Austin Texas. The NIO EVE is a Level 4 Automated electric vehicle for the US market, anticipated for release in 2020. NextEV partnered with MobilEye, recently acquired by Intel, NVIDIA and NXP Semiconductors to develop its autonomous vehicle. Along with the release of the NIO EVE, U.S. CEO Padmasree Warrior showed a video of the NIO EP9 completing the first historical feat of racing around the America‘s Track in Austin Texas without a driver, reaching a top speed of 160mph. The vehicle also broke a lap record with a driver.
Baidu, looking for new growth areas, created a $3 billion investment fund, Baidu Capital, found the fast-growing electric vehicle market attractive at a time when the vehicle and the internet are moving closer to each other. NextEV raised $500 million in 2016 from investors such as Tencent, who is also invested in Future Mobility, Hillhouse Capital, who also invested in UBER, Sequoia Capital and Joy Capital.
Judging from the interest in NextEV‘s offering from investors consumers can certainly look forward to being wowed by NextEV while it pushes the boundaries, not being tied to the red tape associated with most Big Auto companies.
Read more on the Chinese internet billionaires investing in the fast-growing electric vehicle market at the following link.
Faraday Future‘s wheels are coming off due to what its founder, Jia Yeutling, is calling a “big company disease,” being a cash crunch. LeEco, the Chinese equivalent of Netflix and parent company of two EV start-ups, Faraday Future in the USA and LeSee in China, is 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.
LeEco, now known for overpromising and massively under delivering, claimed that its premium car, the Faraday Future FF91, is a “Tesla Killer.” LeEco unveiled the FF91 “Tesla Killer” at the 2017 CES in Las Vegas along with the LeSee concept electric vehicle. While the LeSee received acclaim the launch of the FF91, on the other hand, was a real doozie. Faraday Future quickly published a highly edited version of the launch on its website, but it was too late as real events quickly went viral. See the video at this link. LeEco has also partnered with Aston Martin on the RapidE, where it will help with the development of the zero emission technology.
Faraday Future, a contradiction in terms, is scaling back all its operations in the USA, with the headcount rumored to have halved over the last couple of months. The production facility in North Las Vegas has been scaled back significantly, and although ground-breaking started late 2016, it has just remained that, as no production facilities have been erected. 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 new phased construction is in line with the company’s reduced model lineup down from 7 models to 2.
The 13-year-old LeEco is financially pressed on all fronts. 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.
An article by OilPrice.com based on BP’s long-term energy outlook claims the electric vehicle car threat to the oil industry is overstated and a red herring for investors and other observers. The article cast doubt on if the achievability of a target of a 100 million electric vehicles by 2030, especially in a Trump era. Nonetheless, BP’s forecast still sees only a marginal effect of only 1.2 million barrels per day on oil demand if the target of around 7% EV’s by 2030 is reached. The article concludes that a bigger unknown to oil demand gains in fuel efficiencies, largely driven by more stringent emission targets.
Some policy gains were made this week in support for electric vehicles in the ongoing tussle targeting regulations for and against the technology. New York will from the 1st of April 2017 provide a $2,000 incentive to buyers of electric vehicles. In Wyoming, despite efforts by the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers backed by Ford and GM to block Tesla from opening its direct sales business, the State Legislature this week approved a bill allowing Tesla to open its showrooms and sell vehicle’s without the use a middle man.
Honda is setting itself up for failure with this week’s announcement that the much anticipated mid-sized 2018 Honda Clarity EV will only have an 80-mile range. Despite being a mid-size sedan, with the obvious space benefit it brings, the car will not even compete with smaller compact sedans and hatchbacks, such as the 2017 BMW i3 (114 miles), Nissan Leaf (107 miles) and the VW e-Golf (125 miles). The Honda Clarity EV’s direct competitors in the $30,000 to $35,000 price range, the Hyundai Ionic (124miles) and Tesla Model 3 (200 miles), will put it to shame.
February Electric Vehicle sales data released for the USA this week reveals some interesting talking points. Overall, February sales gained a further 13.4% in January 2017 and over 55% on year on year basis. Contributors to the increase came from a nearly doubling in sales of the Tesla Model S and continued demand for the new Toyota Prius Plus. Unfortunately, the Prius in our books hardly counts as an electric vehicle due to its underwhelming continued reliance on its combustion engine. Disappointingly, sales for the Chevrolet Bolt declined over 18% from January, bringing total sales for the four months to 3,272 units, far short if one takes that at a claimed 30,000 units per annum the Bolt should have sold 10,000 units during the four months. In the car maker standings, GM retained its lead with 2,776 units over Tesla’s 2,550 units with Ford taking third place with 1,704 units.
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.
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.
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.
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.