Electric Vehicles

EV Makers’ Mark
An employee walks along a shelf of car body parts of the new electric Volkswagen model ID.3 in Zwickau, Germany, February 25, 2020. © REUTERS / MATTHIAS RIETSCHEL - stock.adobe.com

EV Makers’ Mark

By Simon Johns - Oct 01, 2020

News from around the world of passenger EV manufacturers.

The car industry is still recovering from the blow dealt by the COVID-19 pandemic, with year-on-year sales down across the board. Yet, in many markets around the world, BEV registrations are on the up, especially in Europe.

In the EU 27, plug-in vehicles grew in market share to 7.2% in the second quarter of 2020, up from 2.4% in the same quarter of 2019, according to figures published by the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association.

Way up north in Sweden, registrations of EVs kept growing after a decent early summer uptick, to reach 28%, according the EV website CleanTechnica. Impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the car market in the Nordic country had declined from the same month last year, but BEVs and PHEVs were still able to increase market share significantly, thanks to the Swedish subsidy system.

In the U.K., which is facing its deepest recession since records began, 5,589 BEVs were registered in August, an increase of 74% on last August, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. The U.K.’s overall registrations dropped by almost 6%, year-on-year.

GERMAN BITE: Opel enthusiasts are expecting the launch of the second-generation, all-electric Mokka in the fourth quarter of this year. Upscale Audi expanded its range of electrified models. After the A6 saloon, the station wagon version of the Audi I, is now also being launched as a plug-in hybrid with up to 51 km of battery range. VW recently announced that it started the conversion of the Emden plant for the production of MEB-platform cars, as well as conventional engine models. The company has allocated the plant in Zwickau to become a purely EV plant where the last combustion engine has already rolled out of assembly line. VW’s subsidiary Seat announced it would commence production of BEVs at its plant in Martorell starting in 2025. The Spanish automaker is spending €5 billion on new facilities, equipment and models. Lastly, BMW revealed that its space-aged, all-electric, automated, networked IX will beam down to Earth at its Dingolfing plant in July 2021. The car is based on the Vision iNext.

On the other side of the Maginot Line, French automotive giant Groupe PSA and Punch Powertrain agreed to set up a second electrification joint venture to design, manufacture and supply the DT22 dual clutch transmission for its mild and plug-in hybrids. Punch Powertrain holds the majority stake.

AMERICA FAST: Tesla reduced the base price of its Model Y Long Range in the U.S. by $3,000 to just under $50,000, and the performance version by around $1,000 to $59,990. European prices are unchanged online, despite the Model Y not being in showrooms there yet. The first Model Y for Europe is expected to emerge from the gleaming new Giga Berlin 4 at the end of the year. Until then, Tesla has plenty of time for possible price adjustments. In addition, Elon Musk announced a further drive variant for the compact electric SUV.

STARTUP ROUNDUP: There’s been a hive of activity with newbies coming to market or announcing their production plans so far this year. Turkey’s first 100% domestic car called Togg is well on the way to rolling off the as-yet-built production line, with the large Turkish expat community in German chosen as the first export market.

China’s Li Auto launched on the stock market in the U.S. The company currently makes a hybrid SUV. Xpeng, founded by an ex-executive of e-commerce site Alibaba, raised a cool $500 million to develop new models targeted at China’s growing middle class. Compatriot Evergrande Group announced its first six models, badged as Hengch. Nio returned from the brink of pandemic-induced dissolution by scoring record sales and a whopping $1 billion cash injection. The troubled Byton fared less well during the lockdown but has resumed operations after it furloughed staff at its U.S. plant in April. Leapmotor announced its second model – the tiny T03.

In the U.S., Bollinger moved into its new digs in Michigan where it will produce its B1 and B2 SUVs, reminiscent of both the shape and price of the Mercedes G Class. Luxury EV maker Lucid also battled through the pandemic to get its factory built in Arizona and cars made. The company’s $80,000 Air sedan was unveiled in its production guise in early September. The pandemic pushed back Rivian’s plans to get its truck out in 2020, however. Six years after the unveiling, Faraday Future is finally taking reservations for its quarter-million-dollar EV sedan. California’s Canoo is launching an IPO in 2020 to finance development of EVs based on a skateboard it also intends to license to third parties.

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