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TOP EV NEWS #1 – 2018 BMW i3 RANGE INCREASE

According to BMW Blog, BMW will upgrade the facelifted BMW i3 shown at the Frankfurt Auto Show earlier this month, with a 120Ah battery in 2018, up from the current 94Ah. The upgrade will be the third since the launch of the popular electric vehicle which has sold close to 100,000 units internationally since 2014. Sales of the BMW i3 has, however, reach a plato from its high in 2015 as lower-priced EVs with longer ranges encroaches on the BMW i3. The upgrade, according to BMW Blog, will consist of a 42.5kWh battery, from Samsung SDI we assume. The BMW i3 facelift will also be available in a 3rd model variant in addition to the REx, the BMW i3s. The BMW i3s offers better driving dynamics.

In related news, VW updated the 2017 e-Golf with a 36kWh battery, increasing its range to 125 miles.

BMW-i3s-Range

TOP EV NEWS #2 – MORE EV STRATEGY UPDATES

Last week we recorded some significant updates to some of the worlds largest automakers EV strategies, a trend we see ever increasing as the reality of electric vehicles has dawned and most auto brands. This week we look at more such updates to EV roadmaps, particularly in China and Europe where regulation is becoming stricter in support of the technology.

GM CEO, Mary Bara, provided greater insight into the companies strategy to meet stringent Chinese Regulation during a press briefing in Shanghai. Mrs. Bara along with other CEOs from the industry in the past attempted to influence the Chinese Government to soften its hardline aimed at a drastic shift towards electrification. The GM CEO stated that the company will release ten new EVs by 2020 and that it will open a battery plant with its domestic partner, SAIC, this year. She maintained GM’s stance though that Government support is required to help the consumer shift towards EVs.

Head of purchasing, Markus Duesmann, at BMW told Automotive News in an interview that BMW will divert 2 million Euro from its parts bill to fund its electrification efforts. BMW has been grappling with the high cost of R&D required to shift to EVs and has announced lower returns because thereof earlier this year. Mr. Duesmann indicated that so much as 5% of the company’s spending on parts would be diverted to electrification, signaling possible pain for suppliers downstream.

Honda announced in a press release that the aims to reach a sales target for EVs of two-thirds by 2025 in Europe, five years sooner than for its global target. The Japanese carmaker aims to achieve this target through releasing a pure electric and plug-in electric vehicle with each new model release from 2019.

Mercedes Benz announced a $1 billion investment in its Tuscaloosa plant. The upgrade will include a battery plant, making its fifth spread over three continents, China, Europe and the USA. The plant will manufacture SUV models for the company’s EQ brand.

According to Automotive News Toyota confirmed its commitment to hybrid technologies, staying the course to keep electric vehicles as a sideline development.

TOP EV NEWS #3 – FORD AND MAHINDRA PARTNER ON EVs IN INDIA

With an eye on India’s ambitions to be rid of combustion vehicles by 2030, Ford and Mahindra entered into a strategic partnership for the development and sourcing of electric vehicles, e-mobility solutions, and self-driving technology. The partnership will be for three years with the option of extending it. Executives from the two companies were quoted in a company press release as follows:

“Our two companies have a long history of cooperation and mutual respect. The memorandum of understanding we have signed today with Mahindra will allow us to work together to take advantage of the changes coming in the auto industry. The enormous growth potential in the utility market and the growing importance of mobility and affordable battery electric vehicles are all aligned with our strategic priorities.”

Dr. Pawan Goenka, managing director, Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd elaborated: “The changes facing the automotive industry globally are triggered by the accelerated rise of new technologies, sustainability policies and new models of urban shared mobility. Given these changes we see the need to anticipate new market trends, explore alternatives and look for ways to collaborate even as we compete and build powerful synergies that will allow rapid exploitation of the exciting new opportunities. Today’s announcement builds on the foundation laid through our past partnership with Ford and will open opportunities for both of us.”

TOP EV NEWS #4 – MITSUBISHI TEASES AN ELECTRIC CONCEPT

In the lead-up to the Tokyo Motor Show Mitsubishi, this week teased a rear image of its new flagship concept vehicle, the MITSUBISHI-e-EVOLUTION-CONCEPT. The Japanese automaker is pressed to follow on the success of the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV which have sold over 125,000 globally since its release in 2013. Sales for the Outlander has been waning of late as competition and technology improved. The e-VOLUTION CONCEPT will blend Mitsubishi Motors’ signature 4WD and electric powertrain know-how with advanced Artificial Intelligence technology under a low-slung aerodynamic SUV Coupe shape.

MITSUBISHI-e-EVOLUTION-CONCEPT

TOP EV NEWS #5 – GAC AND TENCENT PARTNERS ON CONNECTED CARS

Tesla shareholder and Chinese internet giant, Tencent, and GAC Auto has agreed to partner on internet connected cars according to Reuters. The partnership includes collaborating on self-driving cars, auto-related e-commerce including insurance and also expands to electric vehicles. The announcement of the partnership boosted GACs share price, gaining 5% on the announcement. Tencent’s share price also reached a record high on the news. Other strategic partnerships we have reported on earlier includes the Alibaba / SAIC agreement from 2016 and the BAIDU / JAC agreement earlier this month.

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