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TOP EV NEWS #1 – FORD SHIFTS A THIRD OF BUDGET TO EVs 

Last week Ford caused a minor stir when the company announced that it would stop producing passenger cars, except for the Focus and Mustang. This means that the Ford C-Max Energi and Ford Fusion will be discontinued, although no specific timing has been given for the move. The strategy shift is part of the company’s realignment to focus on electric vehicles and the profitable SUV and Crossover segment. The automaker announced that it would shift one-third of its budget to electric vehicles.

Part of Ford’s strategy to make up for lost ground is to create partnerships in China and India while also shifting to mobility solutions. This week Ford Smart Mobility LLC and Chinese automaker Zotye signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to establish a joint venture (JV) to provide smart, customized all-electric vehicle solutions to fleet operators and drivers in China’s fast-growing ride-hailing market.

Many operators in China’s ride-hailing market are looking to expand their fleets with electric vehicles. According to Boston Consulting Group, the local ‘e-hailing’ market is expected to grow by 19 percent annually through 2022, with an overall fleet size potentially reaching up to 26 million.

This week Didi, the largest ride-hailing company in China announced that it would up its use of EVs from the current 250,000 to 10 million EVs in 2028.

As part of Ford’s commitment to building smart vehicles for a smart world, and to pave the way for a future of V2X and autonomous vehicles, the new JV will also engage with local governments and cities to support the development of integrated transportation solutions covering data connectivity and software systems to improve traffic flow, reduce congestion and enhance the commuter experience.

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TOP EV NEWS #2 – PSA PLANS TO MAKE DS AN EV ONLY BRAND

DS Automobiles, the French luxury brand founded in 2014 by the PSA Group expanded on its EV strategy last weekend at the Paris e-Prix. The company which is to launch its first EV, the DS7 Crossback E-Tense SUV plug-in hybrid, announced that it would only develop and sell EV models from 2025 onwards. DS model series will be available either as PHEVs or BEVs or both, The petrol-electric DS7 4x4 which is expected soon has a 30-mile range and 300hp engine. DS will also unveil its firts full EV at the Paris Auto Show in September.

TOP EV NEWS #3 – AFRICA TO GET SECOND EV ASSEMBLY LINE 

BAIC announced at the 2018 Auto China in Beijing that it will start assembling EVs in South Africa, following BYD which is constructing an EV assembly plant in Morrocco. BAIC was the top-selling EV manufacturer (pure EVs) globally in 2017, beating Tesla and Nissan.

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The Optimal Energy Joule

Most of BAIC’s sales came from the popular BAIC EC180. BAIC did not expand on its plans on how it will deal with the lack of charging infrastructure in the Southern African country. The backward thinking South African government had an opportunity to back one of the first EV manufacturers, the local Optimal Energy Juole, but decided against supporting the company partly because the management was white. Currently, there is only a hand full of EV charging stations in the two of the major centers with Nissan and BMW selling a few of the older generation Nissan Leaf and BMW i3’s. The country is also yet to decide on a charging standard as the two car’s are using two different standards. Nissan also called on the South African government last week to do more to catch up with the rest of the world on its plans for electric cars or risk being left behind.

BAIC chairman Xu Heyi indicated that it will start setting-up a plant with a capacity of 100,000 vehicles at the end June. He did not indicate what level of the assembly will be done locally.

TOP EV NEWS #4 – VW TARGETS CHINA IN A BIG WAY

VW expanded on its e-mobility plans last week at the 2018 Auto China in Beijing. CEO of Volkswagen Group, Dr. Herbert Diess announced that it would have six factories producing electric vehicles for its brands in China by 2021. Volkswagen Group China will spend €15 billion through 2022 to support People’s Mobility in China and launch 40 new energy vehicles in the country over the next eight years.

This week at the VW Group AGM it was announced that the Group had secured forward battery supply agreements of €40 billion ($48 billion), doubling the amount announced in March. To put VW’s EV strategy in perspective the value of the battery supply agreements is equal to Tesla’s market cap this week when it released its Q1 figures. Dr. Herbert Diess told shareholders at the VW AGM that the company plans to manufacture 3 million EVs per year by 2025.

TOP EV NEWS #5 – KIA NIRO EV UNVEILED

KIA unveiled the much anticipated KIA Niro EV SUV at the 5th International Electric Vehicle Expo in Jeju, Korea. The KIA Niro BEV and Hyundai Kona is the first mass-produced economy SUV’s (outside of China). The SUV EV is inspired by the KIA Niro Concept EV unveiled at the 2018 CES in Las Vegas earlier in the year. The KIA Niro EV is available in a short and long-range option ranging between 240km/150mi and 380km/238mi. The Niro EV features a charging portal in its radiator grille, futuristic air intake, arrowhead-shaped LED daytime running lights and muscular wheel arches. The KIA NIRO will go on sale in H2 2018 in Korea. The international unveiling is at the Paris Auto Show in September after which it will be introduced in other markets.

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