TOP EV NEWS #1 – CHINESE EV STRATEGY PAYING OFF
The Chinese Governments aggressive program to support (enforce) the adoption of electric vehicles, or new energy vehicles (NEVs) as its locally known, is paying dividends. With the implementation of strict EV production and sales targets approaching in 2019 various companies, such as GM have in the last couple of months announced China-specific EV plans. The latest international automaker to announced its China EV strategy is the VW Group, who this week announced the investment of €10 billion ($11.8 billion) up to 2025 to develop and manufacture NEVs in China. Reuters reported this week that the German automaker aims to sell 400,000 new EVs by 2020 and 1.5 million by 2025 along with its joint venture partners. The company aims to bring fifteen NEVs with a range of up to 600km to the Chinese market by 2020 and a further 25 after that. Although VW Group currently has around ten imported NEV models available in China sales of most imports except for GM and Tesla have been very slow.
Toyota also clarified its NEV plans for China this week. To date, the company only announced the introduction of two PHEV models for the Chinese market, namely the Corolla and Levin which is expected in 2018. In a press release this week Toyota announced that it would bring a new EV under its brand to China in 2020. It announced further that it would expand its Fuel Cell study in China to include commercial vehicles such as buses. Compared to Tesla, GM and VW’s plans Toyota’s seem very tame and summarises the claim by Toyota’s Chairman to German publication Der Spiegel this week. Mr. Takeshi Uchiyamada was quoted saying “Battery-powered cars with a long range are very expensive, and it takes a long time to charge them, such cars do not fit in our program.” He went further saying “Tesla is not our enemy and not our role model, I think it’s the German manufacturers that rather see Tesla as a competitor.”
In the meantime, Bloomberg reported that the Chinese Government is considering the extension of its EV production permitting program which was created to protect the market against an oversupply of EVs. The program allowed for only 15 EV production permits of which JAC was the last to receive in May 2017. The extension of the permitting program is rumored to commence in 2018 and based on recent comments is expected to allow wholly owned subsidiaries of foreign companies to partake.
TOP EV NEWS #2 – AUTO BRANDS EXTEND EV DEVELOPMENT
Appart from plans to produce EVs for the Chinese markets some of the major international automakers this week clarified their EV strategy for other parts of the globe.
GM CEO Mary Barra told Automotive News that the US-based company would launch its next-generation EV platform in 2021 and hope to have EV sales of one million vehicles per annum by 2026. According to Mary Barra, the company aims for at least 20 EVs and FCEVs by 2023. The next generation platform will be modular, at least 30% cheaper and have a range of over 300 miles. The improved platform will have the battery cells integrated into the architecture.
VW Group announced in a press release that it would invest €34 billion in electric and autonomous vehicles by the end of 2022 in support of its Roadmap E strategy, the most comprehensive electrification campaign in the automotive industry. The plan will kick off with the shifting of the production of combustion vehicles away from its plant in Zwickau (Saxony, Germany) to allow for the increased production of electric vehicles on its MEB platform. Group CEO Matthias Müller said “We are reinventing the car. To achieve that, we are making targeted investments to provide the necessary funds from our own resources.”
According to Roadmap E around one in four new vehicles by VW Group will be a battery-only electric vehicle by 2025, which could mean up to three million e-cars a year. The Company is planning to electrify its entire model portfolio by 2030, which is more than 300 models. To this end, VW has invited tenders for one of the largest purchasing volumes ever, with plans to spend over €50 billion on battery cells.
Toyota and Suzuki this week signed a memorandum of understanding for the introduction of EVs into India. According to the MOU Suzuki will produce EVs for the Indian market and supply some to Toyota, while Toyota will provide technical support. The MOU is signed with the backdrop of the Indian Governments “Made in India” and aggressive EV programs.
TOP EV NEWS #3 – MAZDA TO DEVELOP RANGE EXTENDED EVs
The Japanese automaker Mazda is planning to launch electric vehicles (EV) with range-extender rotary engine technology in Europe and the United States from 2019 onwards, reports Nikkei Asian Review. Rotary engine technology, which was first developed back in 1967 by Mazda, can double the range of an electric vehicle and is based on triangular rotors instead of pistons and cleaner to comply with stricter environmental laws globally. Mazda will not be the first to use rotary engines as a range extender, BMW‘s i3 REx also uses rotary technology.
TOP EV NEWS #4 – TESLA SEMI LAUNCH SURPRISES US ALL
The much-anticipated launch of the Tesla Semi did not fail to impress and exceeded most expectations, it even helped Tesla’s share price jump $10, which looked more than a selling opportunity in hindsight. Elon Musk unveiled the truck with the acronym of BAMF (Bad Ass *&)%$#*) due to its insane performance when compared to conventional trucks. The market view prior to the launch was that the Tesla Semi would be able to reach a range of 300 miles on a charge, which is far short of the 500 miles announced by Elon Musk on the 16th of November. See the full specs and pictures here. Pre-orders was set at $5,000 with Walmart already announcing that it booked 15 Tesla Semi trucks.
Spicing up the launch was the new Tesla Roadster delivered from the trailer of the Tesla Semi on stage. The new Roadster is the fastest production car yet on paper with an acceleration to 60mph in just 1.9 seconds. The Roadster has a range of 620 miles from its 200kWh battery. See the full specs and pictures here.
Both the Tesla Semi and Roadster will be available from 2019.
TOP EV NEWS #5 – AUTONOMOUS NEWS OF PAST WEEK
In her presentations at the Barclays 2017, Global Automotive Conference in New York GM CEO Mary Barra gave a glimpse of GMs plans to monetize services embedded in its smart connected vehicles. According to Barra GM will launch a marketplace application in its connected vehicles which will be simpler to use than current smartphones. Like other carmakers, GM is exploring how it can gain value from its 13 million connected cars which create 3 petabytes of data per year.
FreshPatents.com reported that Ford Global Technology registered a patent for an off-road autonomous driving system. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USTPO) has granted Ford a patent for an off-road autonomous driving system. This could be handy functionality while farming or hunting. I can see a hunter call his truck to get him at a location after the hunt (if there is cell connectivity).
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