TOP EV NEWS #1 – LOS ANGELES AUTO SHOW
The Los Angeles Auto Show kicked off this week with an onslaught by German brands BMW, Daimler and VW showing off their current and future EVs. German automakers are under huge pressure to catch up to Tesla, with Porsche admitting this week that it is losing clients to the US-based leader in the EV market. BMW brought the BMW iVision, Concept X7 iPerformance, 2019 BMW i8 Roadster (in the cover picture), BMW i3S, and Mini Electric Concept to the LA Show.
The 2019 BMW i8 Roadster achieves an electric range of up to 18 miles from an 11.6kWh battery and can reach a top speed of 155 mph from its 228 horsepower 1.5 liter three-cylinder engine. The 2019 i8 Roadster gets an improved electric motor of 141 horsepower adding up to a total output of 369 horsepower to accelerate to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds.
The BMW iVision, which is expected to come to market as the i5 in 2021, has an NEDC range of 373 miles (600km) at a top speed of 125mph and promises acceleration of 0 – 62 in 4 seconds with at least Level 4 autonomy.
Mercedes broke from the pack, showcasing the Hydrogen powered Mercedes Benz GLC F-Cell first introduced at the Frankfurt Auto Show. The GLC F-Cell is expected to be released in the USA market in 2019. The rear wheel drive GLC F-Cell is powered by a single motor delivering 197 hp and 258lb.ft torque which draws electricity from a 13.8kWh lithium battery and a fuel stack with 9.7 liters of hydrogen. The GLC F-Cell has an NEDC rated electric range of 30 miles and 272 from the fuel cell.
Other electric cars showcased at the 2017 LA Auto Show included the Range Rover P400e, Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo Wagon, and Jaguar I-Pace e-Trophy race car. Read our article on VW’s unveil of the I.D. Crozz.
TOP EV NEWS #2 – NEW MODELS, PLANTS, AND PLANS
Great Wall Motors luxury brand, WEY, created in 2016 unveiled its first electric vehicle at the Guangzhou Auto Show. The new vehicle, the WEY P8 was first introduced as the VV7 eAD concept earlier the year. The P8 PHEV SUV has a combined range of 660km (412 miles) and an electric range of 50km (31 miles) from a 13kWh battery. The 20178 WEY P8 PHEV boasts a fuel consumption of 2.3l from its hybrid engine producing a total power 0f 250kW from its 80kW electric engine and 170kW 2.0L Turbocharged engine. The WEY P8 will compete with the BYD Song DM and SAIC Roewe eRX5.
Volvo‘s newly created brand, Polestar, started construction of its production center in China where the company’s first car, the 600hp Polestar 1 Grand Touring Coupe PHEV with an electric range of 150km will be produced. Yes, you read correctly, the Polestar 1 will be the longest range PHEV on the market. The plant is expected to be completed by mid-2018. Volvo plans to assemble 500 units if the Polestar 1 a year.
TOP EV NEWS #3 – GOVERNMENT SUPPORT FOR EVs
Support for the electrification of transport systems got a push this past week with Norway abandoning the proposed ‘Tesla‘ tax which would have penalized EVs weighing more than 2 tonnes. According to web publication Quartz policymakers and political parties supporting tax incentives for EVs agreed to pass the budget excluding the proposed tax.
The UK’s recent Autumn budget provided £400 million for charging infrastructure, £100 for incentives and £40 for research and development while committing that 25% of the government’s fleet would be converted to electric by 2022.
On the flip side of the coin, Germany has removed Tesla from its list of vehicles qualifying for EV subsidies. The reasoning by the German Government that the Tesla Model S and X are too expensive as customers are not able to order the base version with extra features pushing the car above the €60k threshold. In the USA the future of the $7.5k federal tax credit for EVs is still uncertain with amendments to the tax bill still putting the incentive at risk despite earlier changes removing the outright scrapping of it.
TOP EV NEWS #4 – RACE TO SECURE COBALT
A UBS auto survey this week predicts that 16% of vehicles on the road in 2025 to be EVs. The forecast is up 2% from the previous estimated with 16.5 million of all cars sold in the middle of the next decade being electric. The report expects Europe to lead the adoption of EVs, where it is expected that EVs would constitute 30% of the total market. The UBS survey puts Tesla at the front of the race with BMW the biggest loser. In fact, most brands lost ground in the latest survey. The position on BMW confirms wattEV2buy’s analysis earlier the year of the German auto manufacturers EV strategy.
As the race in EV production hots up, manufacturers are rushing to secure the supply of rare resources such as cobalt which jumped from $10/lb in 2015 to around $30/lb recently. German manufacturers BMW and VW are stepping up efforts to secure the supply of the rare mineral of which 65% is mined in the volatile Democratic Republic of Congo. According to a Bloomberg report, BMW needs to determine its ability to supply materials before it decides on producing its own batteries. VW’s first talks with cobalt suppliers ended with no deal reached according to Reuters. VW invited Glencore, China’s Huayou Cobalt, commodity trader Traxys, U.S. miner Freeport-McMoran and Eurasian Resources Group (ERG) to its Wolfsburg headquarters in an attempt to secure supply of cobalt at a fixed price for its €34 billion EV plan announced in November 2017.
Read our report on cobalt and other minerals required for EV batteries.
TOP EV NEWS #5 – GM – THE FUTURE IS HERE FASTER THAN YOU THINK
GM unpacked its autonomous vehicle strategy this week. Reuters reported that GM would deploy autonomous vehicles in US cities from 2019 to compete with Tesla and Waymo who is leading the race in the autonomous vehicle development. GM will commercially deploy self-driving cars as robo-taxis earlier than competitors Ford, VW and others which only see production versions of autonomous vehicles by 2021.
Disruption in mobility caused by ride-sharing and autonomous vehicles had a major impact on Car rental companies such as Hertz and Avis. Avis this week announced the establishment of its Mobility Lab in Kansas, Missouri to test connected vehicles as it tries to remain relevant in the changing market.
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