TOP EV NEWS #1 – CHINESE EV SALES FOR 2017
National auto data for December released this week by China showed that EV sales in the country rose a staggering 11 consecutive periods of which the last six months were records, each eclipsing the month prior. Total figures for 2017 shows that the country produced 794,000 new energy vehicles (up 53.8%) and sold 777,000 units (up 53.3%). New energy vehicles now constitute 2.7% of the national fleet for the year, an increase of 50% on the 1.8% in 2016. Passenger EVs grew from 1.4% of the national fleet in 2016 to 2.38% in 2017. Of the total amount of EVs produced 478,000 (up 81.7%) were pure electric and 114,000 (40.3%) were plug-in hybrid vehicles. Sales for pure electric cars amounted to 458,000 (up 82.1%) and for that of PHEV 111,000 (up39.4%).
According to Reuters a forecast from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers on Thursday predicted that EV sales would grow 40% on that of 2017, bringing forecasted total sales for 2018 to 1 million vehicles. Manufacturers such as FAW, BAIC, and BYD came out this week with their plans for 2018. BYD targets to sell 200,000 EVs in 2018 while BAIC will build on its success of 2017 by bringing five pure electric models to market. Read our full report on BAIC unseating Renault in the Top 3 EV companies and its 2018 plans here. FAW the state-owned automaker announced that it would develop 15 EV models through its Hongqi luxury brand by 2025 starting with its first model in 2018 in a bid to revive the ailing brand. The company hopes that by focusing on EVs that it could increase Honqi’s sales from the current ca 5,000 units to 100,000 in 2020 and 300,000 in 2025. EV models from 2020 onwards will be developed on a new drivetrain with a range of 373 miles (600km) and assembled in Changchun.
TOP EV NEWS #2 – NISSAN CONSIDERING EV PRODUCTION IN INDIA
According to the Times of India Nissan is engaging with the Indian Government to support the company in bringing a mass-produced and affordable EV to market which could also be exported to other countries in the region. Nissan’s Global Director for EVs, Nicholas Thomas, told the Times that the car should be in the region of Rs 7 lakh ($10,000), making it cheaper than the Indian produced Mahindra e20, previously also sold in the UK. Mr. Thomas gave no timeline on such a project and commented that it would depend on the development of the Indian EV market and the affordability of batteries in the country. Although the Indian Government aspires to be 100% in electric by 2030, it is yet to present a clear plan on how this will be achieved. Nissan’s EV strategy is to develop 12 EV models by 2022 for the international market.
In related news, Nissan announced that orders for the new Nissan eNV200 MPV or 7-seater eNV200 Evalia are now open. The limited edition 40kWh Nissan eNV200 with an expected range of 280km (175 miles) will be available in Italy, Belgium, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland from the second quarter of 2018.
TOP EV NEWS #3 – HYUNDAI BATTERY PRICE PREDICTIONS
In December 2017 Hyundai Senior VP Lee King was quoted by Reuters that the Group sees the end of the sharp drop in prices of lithium batteries by 2020 after which it expects prices to flatten off. According to Reuters Mr. King said at the time: “Not a single ingredient is going in a positive direction in terms of pricing, so far battery prices have been declining at a rapid pace, but the pace will moderate significantly or maintain the status quo by 2020.”
This week at the CES 2018 Mr. King was quoted by Reuters making the same remarks at the launch of its new Nexo FCEV. Although Hyundai and its sister company KIA acknowledges the need to go green, they see a much smaller role for electric vehicles pushing hydrogen-based vehicles along with Japanese carmaker Toyota and FIAT Chrysler. Hyundai KIA is launching EVs on its new platform this year and plans to roll out EVs powered by solid-state batteries from 2020.
TOP EV NEWS #4 – CES 2018 WRAP-UP
Last week I featured some of the teasers ahead of the CES 2018. You can now view the unveiled images and specifications on each of the dedicated pages on wattEV2 buy for the XPENG G3, Fisker eMotion, Byton Concept, KIA Niro BEV Concept, and Hyundai Nexo FCEV SUV by following the associated links.
Panasonic showcased mockups of a platform for EV bikes and micro-cars it developed at its booth at the CES 2018. The platform which offers an energy-efficient, a safe powertrain that features integrated compactness, high efficiency and flexible scalability includes a power unit (with an onboard charger, junction box, inverter and DC-to-DC converter) and a motor unit.
TOP EV NEWS #5 – AUTONOMOUS NEWS FROM PAST WEEK
Nissan and Nasa are extending their five-year research co-operation partnership to develop a working demonstration of SAM (Nissan Seamless Autonomous Mobility) by 2019. First introduced at the CES 2017 Nissan developed SAM from NASA technology used to managing interplanetary rovers as they move around unpredictable landscapes. SAM is used to managing autonomous transportation services. According to Nissan “SAM represents a major milestone in Nissan Intelligent Integration, providing the infrastructure to safely and seamlessly integrate autonomous mobility services into existing urban environments.”
The world’s largest supplier of semiconductors to the auto industry, NXP, launched its Automated Drive Kit at the CES 2018. The NXP Automated Drive Kit allows for the open, fast and flexible development of Level 3 self-driving systems and will expand to higher levels of autonomy in time. The Drive Kit is a software-enabled platform that enables carmakers and suppliers to develop, test and deploy autonomous algorithms and applications quickly on an open and flexible platform with an expanding ecosystem of partners. According to a press release by the NXP:
“The first release of the Automated Drive Kit will include a front vision system based on NXP’s S32V234 processor, allowing customers to deploy their algorithms of choice. The Kit also includes front camera application software APIs and Object Detection Algorithms provided by Neusoft; a leading IT solutions and services provider in China and a strategic ADAS and AD partner to NXP. Additionally, the Kit includes sophisticated radar options and GPS positioning technology. Customers choose from various LiDAR options and can add LiDAR Object Processing (LOP) modular software from AutonomouStuff, which provides ground segmentation and object tracking.”
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