TOP EV NEWS #1 – PORSCHE DEPENDS ON MISSION E FOR ITS SURVIVAL
Porsche CEO Oliver Blume said at the 70th anniversary of the brand ” The future of Porsche also hinges on the success of the Mission E electric car” according to Bloomberg. Porsche, Volkswagen Group’s most profitable brand, boasted with record sales in 2017 despite it losing customers to Tesla. Porsche customers are shifting towards more efficient cars with 60% of buyers of the new Panamera selecting the hybrid drivetrain which will also be available in the Cayenne upgrade this year.
Porsche’s head of its electrification project, Uwe Michael, in an interview this week expanded on the Mission E’s charging system as the release of the much-anticipated coupe sportscar is now just over a year away. According to Michael the Mission E with its 800V charging system will offer fast charging in half the time than its competitors proving 400km (250 miles) of range in just 20 minutes. Porsche will allow its customers to pre-book charging spots through its Turbo Charging Planner which matches your route with optimally placed charging pedestals. When choosing your Porsche Mission E, you will be able to select between a 11kW or 22kW onboard charging system. Michael indicated that Porsche would stick with lithium technology from suppliers such as LG-Chem and Panasonic which is expected to improve efficiencies at a rate of 5% annually until solid-state batteries become commercially viable. Porsche will offer buyers an option of either 3,6kW and 7.2kW systems to its PHEV drivetrains.
Porsche is integrating battery technology more and more into its line-up with the next generation Porsche 911 getting a battery pack.
TOP EV NEWS #2 – MAZDA ELECTRIC CAR ROADMAP
Mazda revealed its launch plan for next-generation technologies this week. In Week 46 of 2017, we reported on the Japanese carmaker to use its rotary technology as a range extender in its EV to be launched in 2019/2020. Interestingly enough Mazda will launch it PHEV model only after its BEV, where most automakers progress to full electric models only after bringing plug-in hybrid versions to market. Currently Mazda’s electrification program centers around its i-stop and i-loop hybrid technologies utilizing negative braking and switching off the engine. Mazda first introduced its rotary range extender technology in the Mazda Demio REEV based on the Mazda 2 in 2012. Mazda’s EV roadmap targets 2035 as the pivot towards electrification as its stick to efficient combustion technology for the foreseeable future.
TOP EV NEWS #3 – VOLVO TRUCKS TO OFFER MEDIUM DUTY ELECTRIC TRUCKS
Volvo Trucks announced that it aims to sell medium-duty electric trucks from next year with Europe as its initial target market. According to the Volvo Truck President, Claes Nilsson, “Electromobility is fully in line with Volvo Truck’s long-term commitment for sustainable urban development and zero emissions”. Mr. Nillson went further saying “We believe in full electrification for urban distribution as a first step. However, we are working with electrification for other transport applications. This is only the beginning.” Volvo is gearing for the transition towards electrification of its commercial vehicles working closely with customers, cities, suppliers of charging infrastructure and other key stakeholders to create the necessary framework for electrical trucks according to Jonas Odermalm the Swedish automakers Head of product strategy medium-duty vehicles. Volvo is competing with other commercial vehicle manufacturers such as Daimler and Isuzu to produce electric light delivery vehicles which provide reduced noise and cleaner vehicles for cities which can operate at night when it does not have to compete for road space traditionally limited to daylight operations.
In related news, Volvo’s parent company, Geely, and US-based VIA Motors entered into a JV partnership to develop range extended medium-duty electric trucks for the Chinese, North-American and Latin American markets.
VIA Motors develops and markets extended-range electric (eREV) and all-electric (EV) power-train systems, incorporating industry-leading VIA developed vehicle software and control systems technology, which provides clean energy solutions for most vehicle classes from light duty through Class 8. VIA’s vehicle integration capability, at both production facilities in Utah and Mexico, provides a range of commercial vehicles to meet zero emissions requirements. VIA vehicles are marketed under the VTRUXtm brand and VIA power-train systems V-Drivetm brand.
The JV targets 2019 as the launch date for its first truck in China and the America’s. The JV makes provision for the co-development of medium-duty trucks by VIA Motors and Geely New Energy Commercial Vehicles (“GCV”) which include a technology transfer of VIA software and control systems.
TOP EV NEWS #4 – SUZUKI E-SURVIVOR AND FUTURE S SHOWCASED
Maruti Suzuki will showcase the Suzuki e-Survivor and Future S concept vehicles at the 2018 Auto Expo to be held from the 7th of February in India. The Suzuki e-Survivor which was first showcased at the 2017 Tokyo Motors Show tributing the Suzuki’s 4×4 heritage. The e-Survivor concept brings together four-wheel drive, autonomous, connected and electric (FACE) technologies, for future mobility. The star attraction at this year’s Auto Show will be the compact crossover Suzuki Future S Concept while the Indian / Japanese carmaker will also showcase its next-generation hybrid vehicles embodied in the Suzuki Solio and Swift cars.
TOP EV NEWS #5 – BAIC BECOMES FIRST LISTED EV MANUFACTURER IN CHINA
BAIC, China’s biggest EV manufacturer in 2017, will become the country’s first listed EV maker as it reverses its BEJV unit into its listed affiliate Chengdu Qian Feng Electronics Co. on the Shanghai Stock Exchange through an asset swap valuing the new company at $4.5 billion (28.8 billion yuan). BJEV raised 14 billion in two tranches of 3 billion yuan in 2016 and 11 billion yuan in 2017.
TOP EV NEWS – AUTONOMOUS NEWS FROM PAST WEEK
Apple expanded its self-driving fleet to 27 according to Bloomberg as it registered 24 more vehicles on the Californian autonomous vehicle testing program. Apple which trails its competitor Google by a mile will extend its test fleet which started with 3 Lexus RX450h SUV’s in California after gaining a permit from the State’s DMV in April 2017.
In the meantime, Reuters reported that Google’s Waymo is to extend its testing of autonomous vehicles to Atlanta. Waymo tweeted “Atlanta is a major hub for technology and innovation, and a natural fit for Waymo’s testing program.” as the State joins four other locations on the company’s testing program. Currently, Waymo tests its self-driving technology on public roads in Phoenix, Michigan, Silicon Valley and San Francisco. Waymo predominantly uses Chrysler Pacifica minivans for its test fleet.
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