TOP EV NEWS #1 – BMW GEARS BATTERY PRODUCTION FOR MINI EV
BMW Group is remodeling the Dingolfing plant 02.20 which has produced batteries and electric motors for BMW plug-in hybrid models since 2015 to ready itself for higher future demand for electric drivetrains, starting with the Mini EV in late 2019. According to BMW, a mid-double-digit-million-euro amount will be channeled into structural measures and equipment to produce batteries for the all-electric MINI alone. The battery manufacturing and assembly line covers an area of around 6,000 square meters in the west wing of the Dingolfing component plant and currently employee over 300 people.
Roland Maurer, head of Planning and Production E-Powertrain at the BMW Group said: “With the launch of new models and growing demand for electrified vehicles, we will be stepping up production of electric components significantly over the next few months and years.”
The fully electric MINI will be built in Oxford in the south of England, starting in late 2019. Batteries for the car will come from the new battery production facility in Dingolfing, with electric engines from the neighboring BMW Group Plant in Landshut. From 2020, the plant will also produce fifth-generation electric drive systems for the BMW iX3, the BMW i4, and the BMW iNEXT.
TOP EV NEWS #2 – POTENTIAL BYTON IPO IN THE WORKS
Investors looking for opportunities to invest in pure EV producers such as Tesla and NIO can now look forward to more choice. The German news publication Automobilwoche quoted Carsten Breitfeld, Chinese EV startup Byton’s co-founder and CEO who indicated that the company could explore an IPO to broaden its capital base.
Breitfeld told the publication, “With the capital-intensive nature of business and our expansion, the topic of listing on the stock market will become relevant.”
Byton has designs to enter the US market and showcased its concept M-Byte SUV there earlier the year. Byton previously announced a successful $500 million Series B funding round partly subscribed by Chinese state-owned FAW and the battery maker CATL. Other than its peer NIO, who contracted JAC to manufacture its electric cars, Byton acquired struggling subsidiary of FAW to gain access to a manufacturing license. Byton acquired Tianjin Huali Automobile Co. for 1 yuan ($0.15) and took responsibility for the company’s outstanding debt totaling 800 million yuan, which must be retired before the end of September 2019.
TOP EV NEWS #3 – NEW LISTINGS AND UNVEILS
The Chinese EV start-up NEVS which acquired the SAAB 9-3 technology opened its books for the pre-ordering of the long-awaited revival of the SAAB 9-3 Aero Concept in the form of the NEVS 9-3. Pricing starts at 169,800 yuan should a buyer qualify for the maximum EV subsidy in his/her home city. Pre-orders range 600 yuan to 2,000 yuan for different privileges. The NEVS 9-3 battery pack is supplied by CATL, and the electric motors produce a maximum power of 130kW and a peak torque of 280Nm.
SOUEAST released an upgraded version of its DX3 compact SUV. The Soueast DX3 400 follows the DX3 300 EV SUV and has an improved range of 351km (219 miles) on the NEDC cycle from a battery pack that is 7kWh larger than the one used in the DX3 300. For more specs click here.
Jiangsu Min’an, one of the first producers to qualify for an EV manufacturing permit in China, unveiled its SUV with the designation A2001. The Min’an A1002 is expected to be listed by the end of 2019 or early 2020. No technical specifications on the A2001 are currently available,
The Spanish automaker Hispano Suiza teased an image of its EV supercar that it will unveil during the Geneva Auto Show in March 2019.
TOP EV NEWS #4 – HYUNDAI GOES SOLAR
The Hyundai Motor Group announced this week that it plans to introduce solar charging technology on selected Hyundai and KIA vehicles. The solar panels will be incorporated into the roof or the hood of all its powertrains including internal combustion vehicles reducing emissions, increasing fuel efficiency and range.
Hyundai is developing three solar roof solutions:
- First-generation silicon solar roof system – includes a structure of mass-produced silicon solar panels that are mounted on an ordinary roof is developed for Hybrid models and charge 30 to 60% of the battery per day, weather permitting.
- The second-generation semi-transparent solar roof system is applied as a panoramic sunroof on combustion vehicles or electric vehicles.
- Third-generation lightweight solar-lid on the vehicle’s body is currently in a pilot phase and includes a structure that mounts solar panels on a bonnet and roof of a car to maximize energy output.
The panels consist of a controller with Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) which controls the voltage and current to increase the efficiency of the panel. The 100W solar panel produces 100Wh of energy per hour.
TOP EV NEWS #5 – TOYOTA MR2 RESURRECTION
Toyota has not been able to clearly define its EV strategy as the Japanese automaker sticks to a largely hydrogen based strategy. Autocar UK reported that the company’s European vice president of sales and marketing Matt Harrison said at the Paris Auto Show earlier this month that the company is in the discussion stage of resurrecting the MR2 as an electric model. The MR2 was a popular mid-engined roadster from 1984 to 2007. According to Autocar, the electric MR2 could be next to a charging station by early in the next decade.
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