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TOP EV NEWS #1 – EUROPE – KEY BATTLEGROUND FOR EVs

The European Union is fast becoming the second key battleground for electric vehicles. A regulatory push to reach its climate goals is forcing the adoption of electric vehicle strategies for carmakers operating in the EU. This week Nissan and the PSA Group announced renewed efforts specifically targeting Europe as a key market for their electric vehicle strategies.

Nissan announced a plan for an “EV Ecosystem” in Europe at the ‘Nissan Futures 3.0 – The Car and Beyond’ event in Oslo. The plan is centered around four key pillars which are the launch of new electric vehicles, additional infrastructure investment, battery charging and home storage advances, and a revolutionary new vision to give Nissan customers free power for their EV using its unique bi-directional charging technology.

Nissan launched a Europe specific LEAF version, the ’2.ZERO’ during the event and announced the new Nissan e-NV200 offering a 60% improvement in the range allowing for 100% electric last mile delivery.

The Japanese automaker will expand its CHAdeMO charging network from 4,600 chargers to 5,600 over the next 18 months. Improvements were also announced in charging technology which includes:

  • The Nissan double speed 7kW home charger allows Nissan electric vehicle owners to achieve 100% charge in just 5.5 hours – a 70% reduction in charging time from the previous charging technology.
  • The Nissan 22kW charger goes, capable of charging in 2 hours.
  • Nissan also showcased its follow up on the xStorage home energy storage system it developed with Eaton Energy. The home charger comes with its own built-in energy storage system, giving customers the ability to better manage their energy costs and even generate their own electricity from solar panels, delivering 100% renewable and zero emission power for their car. The company expects to sell 100,000 of the xStorage units in Europe by 2020.

Nissan European EV ecosystem

Nissan Leaf Nismo Concept / Leaf 2.Zero for Europe / Nissan e-NV200 / 100% renewable home charging

Group Renault unveiled its Drive the Future plan for the period 2017 – 2022 in which it targets EV leadership. It is significant that the Group plans to bring 21 new vehicles to the market in the period of which eight are pure electric models and twelve electrified. The plan follows its “Drive the Change” plan and is built around the Group’s vision of sustainable mobility for all, today and tomorrow. Key aspects of the plan relative to EVs include:

  • Expanded Russia presence through Renault and investments in AVTOVAZ (Lada), opening up the opportunity for more EVs in Russia;
  • Accelerating opportunities in China through new strategic joint ventures in EV and LCV;
  • Growing market opportunities in Brazil, India, Iran;
  • 100% connected vehicles in key markets and 15 AD Renault vehicles.

In related news, PSA Group’s recently acquired, Opel’s head of development Giles Le Borgne in an interview with Automobilwoche stated – “We will gradually start using PSA platforms and engines for the Opel model lineup.” Appart from the obvious job losses it is safe to assume that we will see more EVs from the brand now that its free from GM‘s limited pursuit of the technology to now.

Some Chinese carmakers have also identified Europe as a key market and are grabbing the opportunity formulating strategies to take advantage of the lead they have due to their own countries aggressive EV regulations. Recently we reported that Chery would create an EV brand for Europe and this week SAIC announced the launch of its Maxus brand in Europe by 2019. SAIC made its intent clear with the launch of the Maxus EV80 electric LDV for Europe.

In support of its regulatory push, the European Union will host a meeting of industry heads from the auto and battery sectors in the coming week to discuss developing battery manufacturing hub to compete Asian and the U.S. markets.

TOP EV NEWS #2 – RANGE ROVER SPORT – FIRST PHEV FOR JLR 

Following on the recent announcement that the Tata-owned company will introduce EV versions of all Jaguar and Land Rover models from 2020 the British automaker this week unveiled the Range Rover Sports P400e PHEV, the company’s first electrified model. The Range Rover Sports P400e PHEV, available in 2018, has a range of 31 miles (50km) and will be priced at £70,800.

Range-Rover-Sport-P400e-PHEV

Range-Rover-Sport-P400e-PHEV

TOP EV NEWS #3 – US CARMAKERS COMES TO THE PARTY (FINALLY)

How different is the news we report today than that of a year ago? In 2016 the general topic when reporting on large US automakers EV strategies was them downplaying electric vehicles as a small niche. This week the USA’s two largest automakers (historically, before Tesla unseated them on market cap) announced strategy shifts towards more aggressive EV development.

In a press release Mark Reuss, General Motors executive vice president of Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain said “General Motors believes in an all-electric future. Although that future won’t happen overnight, GM is committed to driving increased usage and acceptance of electric vehicles through no-compromise solutions that meet our customers’ needs.”

The plan towards an All Electric Path to Zero Emissions recently announced by CEO Mary Barra includes two new pure electric cars in the next 18 months based on learnings from the Chevrolet Bolt, ultimately reaching 20 new all-electric models by 2023. The plan also includes Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles starting with SURUS — the Silent Utility Rover Universal Superstructure — a fuel cell powered, four-wheel steer concept vehicle on a heavy-duty truck frame that’s driven by two electric motors. With its capability and flexible architecture, SURUS could be used as a delivery vehicle, truck or even an ambulance — all emissions free. The company also announced that it more than doubled its autonomous vehicle test fleet in California.

Ford‘s new CEO, Jim Hackett this week came out with a complete strategy shift, rethinking its predecessors One Ford strategy in a bid to play catchup on its competitors in the electric vehicle market. The shift aims to reduce cost by $14 billion, leverage partnerships and invest in EVs and trucks. The highlights from the announcement as presented in the company’s press release are:

  • Accelerating the introduction of connected, smart vehicles and services customers want and value. By 2019, 100 percent of Ford’s new U.S. vehicles will be built with connectivity. The company has similarly aggressive plans for China and other markets, as 90 percent of Ford’s new global vehicles will feature connectivity by 2020.

  • Rapidly improving fitness to lower costs, release capital and finance growth. Ford is attacking costs, reducing automotive cost growth by 50 percent through 2022. As part of this, the company is targeting $10 billion in incremental material cost reductions. The team also is reducing engineering costs by $4 billion from planned levels over the next five years by increasing use of common parts across its full line of vehicles, reducing order complexity and building fewer prototypes.

  • Allocating capital where Ford can win the future. This starts with the company reallocating $7 billion of capital from cars to SUVs and trucks, including the Ranger and EcoSport in North America and the all-new Bronco globally. Ford also has plans to build the next-generation Focus for North America in China, saving capital investment and ongoing costs. Further, Ford is reducing internal combustion engine capital expenditures by one-third and redeploying that capital into electrification – on top of the previously announced $4.5 billion investment.

  • Embracing partnerships. Ford will continue to leverage partnerships, remain active in M&A and collaborate to accelerate R&D. The company recently announced it was exploring a strategic alliance with Mahindra Group as it transforms its business in India, and Zoyte with the intention of developing a new line of low-cost all-electric passenger vehicles in China. When it comes to autonomous vehicle development, the company recently announced a relationship with Lyft to work toward commercialization and a collaboration with Domino’s Pizza to research the customer experience of delivery services.

  • Expanding electric vehicle revenue opportunities. The company recently announced a dedicated electrification team within Ford, focused exclusively on creating an ecosystem of products and services for electric vehicles and the unique opportunities they provide. This builds on Ford’s earlier commitment to deliver 13 new electric vehicles in the next five years, including F-150 Hybrid, Mustang Hybrid, Transit Custom plug-in hybrid, an autonomous vehicle hybrid, Ford Police Responder Hybrid Sedan, and a fully electric small SUV.

TOP EV NEWS #4 – CORPORATE ACTIONS

The Chinese automaker Great Wall Motors (GWM) acquired a 3.5% stake in Australian Lithium miner, Pilbara Minerals for $22 million in a bid to secure lithium supply for its EV strategy. To date, GWM has been one of the slower movers in the Chinese EV sector, but the purchase signals a more aggressive stance.

After losing a tender to supply the Indian government with electric vehicles to Tata, Mahindra and Mahindra amped up its investment in the sector by earmarking $600 million (Rs 4,000 crore) over the next three to five years. The investment will be in four parts, namely:

  • R&D in EV tech including battery technology, power electronics, and motors;
  • Capacity expansion;
  • Electrifying its current portfolio;
  • Developing a dedicated EV platform with Pininfarina.

TOP EV NEWS #5 – LDVs THE NEXT GROWTH OPPORTUNITY FOR EVs

Light Delivery Vehicles is hotting up as the next growth market in the EV sector. Recently we have seen some new and improved models announced in this vehicle class. The drive to make the last mile 100% electric is a low hanging fruit and an obvious target for regulators enforcing emission control in cities. Already Chinese manufacturers have electrified a host of existing combustion LDVs. This week wattEV2buy published a list of over 1,400 special vehicles in China which consists mostly of cargo vans, panel vans, and multi-purpose vehicles.

This week big manufacturers SAIC and Nissan announced the launch of two new electric LDVs. Nissan unveiled the new e-NV200 with a range of 280km (175mi). SAIC unveiled the Maxus EV80, available as a panel van and a chassis cab. The Maxus EV80 has a cargo area length of 3300 mm, width of 1770 mm and height of 1710 mm, resulting in a total volume of 10.2 m3 accessible through wide-opening rear and side doors and capable of a maximum payload of 950 kg (2,100 lbs) and a maximum towing mass of 750 kg (1,650 lbs). The EV80 has a range of 200 km (124 miles) and charges in two hours. The Maxus EV80 LDV comes with a three-year bumper-to-bumper warranty and a battery warranty of five years or 100,000 km.

Flowing from Ford‘s strategy shift announced above it transpired that the US automaker would focus on developing EV vans for the Chinese market in an attempt to play catch-up.

Maxus EV80 - 02 LV

SAIC Maxus EV80 LDV

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