TOP EV NEWS #1 – MARKETING EFFORTS FOR THE EQC UPS A GEAR
The marketing efforts for the 2019 launch of the Mercedes EQC notched up a gear this week with the release of “Spy” images. Mercedes announced that winter testing for the EQC would start in January 2019 in Sweden followed by high-temperature testing in Southern Europe in the summer. The company also released videos of testing of the EQC in the Black Forest, Germany.
TOP EV NEWS #2 – AUDI EV RELEASE DATES
AUDI announced that it would host the world premiere of the much anticipated Audi e-tron SUV on the 30th of August this year at the Audi Summit in Brussels. The VW company made the announcement to shareholders at its 129th Annual General Meeting in Ingolstadt while explaining the company’s transformation after the diesel gate fiasco. Audi’s Board of Management informed shareholders that one of the objectives of its Action and Transformation Plan is to sell 800,000 electrified vehicles per annum by 2025 from 20 electrified models. The company will expand its current portfolio to include plug-in hybrid and all-electric vehicles in each model range by 2025. Audi also aims to generate €1 billion through providing digital services via the myAudi customer portal by the year 2025. The E-tron Quattro EV SUV will be the first to provide the service whereby customers can book various functions online via the service. The Audi Quattro will be equipped with a 150kW fast charge system and have a range of 400km (250mi) in WLTP driving cycle. Not only will the Quatro E-tron be a zero-emission vehicle, but it will also be the first premium car to be produced in a certified CO2-neutral high-volume production facility. AUDI plans to transform all its production sites worldwide CO2 neutral by 2030.
The Management Board plans to invest €40 billion to support the company’s shift to e-mobility, self-driving, and digitization to develop products such as the AUDI Aicon presented the Frankfurt Auto Show in 2017. AUDI this week announced that the pilot program for the AUDI AICON A-EV would commence in 2021. The second EV following on the Quattro e-tron will be the Audi e-tron Sportback in 2019, followed by the Audi e-tron GT from Audi Sport and an electric model in the premium compact segment in 2020. The premium VW brands, Audi and Porsche, are working together to implement the premium-architecture electrification for mid-range, full-size and luxury-class electric cars.
TOP EV NEWS #3 – NEW NISSAN LEAF WINS ANOTHER AWARD
The Nissan Leaf keeps raking in the awards, winning yet another Top EV Award, in this case, awarded by British DieselCar and EcoCar awards. The Nissan Leaf also came out tops at the World Car Awards, receiving the “2018 World Green Car” award. The new Nissan Leaf started its winning spree in November 2017 receiving two honors in the CES (Consumer Electronics Show) Best of Innovation awards.
- CES Best of Innovation award winner for Vehicle Intelligence and Self-Driving Technology
- CES honoree for Tech for a Better World.
Both EcoCar and CES sited the 2018 Nissan Leaf’s ProPILOT (known as ProPILOT Assist in North America), bi-directional charging and e-Pedal technologies.
The Leaf EV is the first EV to be tested against the Euro NCAP’s extended safety protocols making it also the first car to achieve the maximum 5-star rating.
Nissan recently delivered 100 2018 Nissan Leaf’s to the City of Montreal. The 2018 Nissan Leaf will soon be launched in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Hong Kong, Malaysia, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, and Uruguay.
In related news, the Nissan Renault alliance partners signed a supply agreement with the Chinese battery maker, CATL, to supply them with electric car batteries for the new Nissan Sylphy, which is exclusively for the Chinese market, and the Renault Kangoo Z.E. MPV van. CATL is one of the worlds biggest battery makers and will command nearly 7.5% of all battery production by 2020 with the completion of its 24GWh plant.
TOP EV NEWS #4 – ZOTYE TO STOP PRODUCING EVs
I reported last week on the EV JV between FORD and Zotye, one of the top-selling EV brands in China during 2016. Zotye announced this week that it would stop producing electric vehicles, shifting all the EV business to the new Ford JV company. Zotye will from now on only focus its EV related efforts to R&D, manufacturing, and marketing of EV components. It was not immediately clear if existing models such as the Zotye SR7 Compact SUV, E20 and Cloud 100 will be moved to the JV or discontinued. Zotye sold over 70,000 EV between 2016 and 2017 but sales tapered off with the company recording less than 3,000 units sold for the first three months of 2018. The slide can be attributed to the company not keeping track with competitors moving into the A0 class segment, once dominated by Zotye.
In related news, FORD seems to be victim number one of the escalating trade war between China and the USA. The automaker reported a sales drop of 26% YoY as its vehicle shipments are delayed in Chinese ports. The 26% figure is across all of FORD’s JVs while Changan Ford reported the highest slide, 38%. Ford’s lack of electric vehicles can partly be attributed to the loss in market share as passenger sedan sales dropped on a month-on-month basis in China for the second consecutive month while EV sales continue to expand.
BYD was also victim to changing EV regulation as the company reported an 83% slide in profits due to a cut in government subsidies to plug-in electric vehicles.
TOP EV NEWS #5 – ASTON MARTIN TO UNVEIL EV SUV IN 2021
Aston Martin announced the creation of its new luxury EV brand, Lagonda, during the Geneva Auto Show earlier this year with the unveiling of its Vision Concept model. The British automaker provided further insight into the new brand this week announcing that the first car from the stable would be an electric Luxury SUV, pictured below, to be unveiled in 2021. Aston Martin added that the Lagonda SUV EV would be built around near-future technologies including an advanced battery system leading one to speculate that the Lagonda SUV will use a solid state battery. The Lagonda SUV is expected to reach the market in 2022.
TOP EV NEWS – AUTONOMOUS NEWS FROM PAST WEEK
The ride-hailing start-up from Stanford University’s Artificial Intelligence Lab announced that it would start the first on-demand self-driving transportation service in the city of Frisco, Texas, following in Waymo’s footsteps which rolled out its service in Arizona. The California-based Drive.ai and Frisco Transport Management Association (FTMA) will co-operate on a pilot project to offer rides to 10,000 people in a geofenced area of the city. The pilot will run for six months, commencing with two fixed drop-off and pick-up locations.
The State of Ohio Autonomous vehicle testing program announced last year commenced this week.
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