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TOP EV NEWS #1 – AUDI WILL PRODUCE EVs AT ALL ITS PLANTS

Earlier the year we reported that unions at Audi approaching management asking to assemble electric vehicles at more of its plants. The unions feared job losses for those being left out of opportunities to gain skills should the technology overtake combustion vehicles. This week Reuters reported that the German automakers CEO, Rupert Stadler, responded to the request by employees by committing that EVs would be manufactured at all its plants across the globe, including Hungary and Mexico. The commitment is made as the company gears up to roll-out 20 EVs by 2025.

TOP EV NEWS #2 – DAIMLER MAY INCREASE CASH IN LOSS-MAKING DENZA 

In the wake of Tuesday’s announcement by an official of the Chinese Commerce Ministry that the country might give automakers a year extension to get their houses in order before implementing its aggressive push towards electrification, Automotive News China reported that Daimler is mulling an increase in its investment in its partnership with BYD. BYD and Daimler created a JV company, Denza, exclusively focusing on the manufacture of electric vehicles currently only produce one model, also named Denza. BYD called for an increase in investment to help the loss-making JV take advantage of the expected increase in EV sales over the next three years. It would be interesting to see if Daimler will increase its investment after reports on Wednesday indicated that a possibility exists that the Government will allow wholly-owned subsidiaries of foreign companies to operate in China. Up to know foreign carmakers were forced to operate in through JV’s such as Denza.

In related news, Reuters quoted BYD Chairman, Wang Chuanfu stating that he see’s a 100% shift to new energy vehicles by 2030. New Energy Vehicles is the accepted reference in China for electric and fuel cell vehicles, including mild hybrids which do not use plug-in charging.

TOP EV NEWS #3 – EV LINE-UP ANNOUNCED IN THE PAST WEEK

Porsche announced that it would expand its plug-in range by adding a PHEV to the  Panamera Turbo Sport Turismo model series. The Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo will be available in the second quarter of 2018 at a price of $188,400 in the USA and €188,592 in Germany. The Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo will get a 14.1kWh battery delivering a range of 49km (30.5 miles) at a top speed of 140km/h (87.5mph). The German automaker released a video of the exciting new addition to its PHEV line-up.

PSA announced that it would add the DS3, Peugeot 208 and 2008 as its first electric vehicles since the iON in 2010. Battery electric versions of the DS3 Crossback and Peugeot 208 built on PSA’s Common Modular Platform (CMP) is to enter the market in 2019, followed by the Peugeot 2008 in 2020. The announcement is in line with the French Group’s strategy to bring one pure EV to market every year starting 2019, with an eventual goal to have 7 PHEVs and 4 BEVs by 2023. The plug-in hybrid range of seven models by 2023 will be based on its EMP2 platform and include the DS 7 Crossback, Peugeot 5008, and Citroen C5 Aircross.

PSA-BEV line-up

Peugeot 208, Peugeot 2008 and DS D3 Crossback

TOP EV NEWS #4 – ABB IN JV TO BUILD EUROPE’s LARGEST BATTERY PLANT

The Swiss industrial giant, ABB announced this week that it would collaborate with Northvolt, a Swedish based company on building the largest Lithium-Ion battery factory in Europe. The battery factory will be located in Sweden and start operations in 2020.

Northvolt CEO, Peter Carlson was quoted saying – “The world is moving quickly towards electrification. We want to enable this transition by building the largest, cutting-edge lithium-ion battery factory on the European continent and producing the world’s greenest batteries. ABB is at the forefront of the electrification, and we are delighted to have them on-board as strategic partner, key supplier and investor”.

A demonstration line will be ready by 2019 at the plant. The project joins a list of other similar projects around the world to meet the increased demand for electric vehicles.

TOP EV NEWS #5 – AUTONOMOUS VEHICLE NEWS THIS WEEK

Baidu, China’s equivalent of Google and early entrant to self-driving cars raised $1.49 Bln (9.8 billion yuan) fund to develop self-driving cars. The Apollo Fund, as it is named, will invest in 100 autonomous projects over the next three years. The fund shares the same name as the search engines open source autonomous software. Version 1.5 of Apollo was released at the same time as the launch of the fund.

Following a recent announcement by Google that it would invest in Lyft another of Google’s autonomous partners, Ford announced that it would roll out self-driving cars on the ridesharing company’s network. Ford will test its self-driving cars equipped with the Argo AI virtual driver system on Lyft’s network. According to a blog post on Medium by Sherif Marakby, vice-president, Autonomous Vehicles and Electrification at Ford the deployment would aim to:

  • Create Ford’s technology platform so that it can easily connect with a partner’s platform to effectively dispatch a self-driving vehicle;
  • Which cities should we work with to deliver our self-driving vehicle service;
  • The kind of infrastructure required to service and maintain a fleet of self-driving vehicles to ensure they are available whenever a consumer needs one?
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