Thursday 15th March 2018.
NORWAYS KONA LOVE AFFAIR
- Firstly I was chatting to Christina Bu, who is Secretary General of the Norwegian EV Association, last night on Twitter because she’d said there were 18,000 expressions of interest in the new Hynudai Kona. I replied that sounds like the figure I’d heard from South Korea the EV incentive is ending but not for those with their names down, and she replied no, what she was talking about was only those in Norway.
- Now these aren’t deposits but 18,000 people who have registered as wanting one. Christina put me onto an article which, although I had to use Google Translate, I got the general point of. It looks like that from July, through to the end of the year, Hyundai want to ship 2,500 Kona EVs to Norway. One of my presumptions was that due to domestic demand in South Korea but also due to a limited initial run, Europe and North America would be waiting until 2019. That’s great news. Has production increased? Are they prioritising Norway because it’s just a large EV market? Hopefully we’ll know more soon but there’s no doubt, if they can make enough, they’ll sell a lot of the long range Kona and sister car the Kia Niro.
VW EV PRODUCTION
- Following up the VW news about $25bn of battery contracts secured for Europe and China, with North America still in negotiations, some news about where they will be built into the new VW cars.
- According to Matthias Schmidt, and auto analyst, “I.D. Production gets underway Q3 2019 (one line in Zwickau) moving to a double production line during 2020 (daily production 1.5k)”. It sounds a lot but remember by 2020 Tesla want to be making 500,000 Model 3’s every year.
VW’S CHINA DEBUT CAR
- Staying with VW news and according to EV Obsession pictures of Volkswagen’s first Chinese electric vehicle, built in its joint venture with JAC, have surfaced from patent The Volkswagen and JAC joint venture should be presenting its 3 models by the end of the quarter, according to Gasgoo and spy images of indicate the first car will be based on the existing iEV7S.
- It may well be badged with VW’s Seat brand, but this article says: building its electric vehicles from an existing line-up is smart as JAC electric cars are well designed and it will drastically cut entry to market time as the factories and suppliers are already working to make iEV7S and can probably easily migrate based on demand.
- They won’t be premium, there will be no bells and whistles, but they’ll be solid and VERY cheap by other EV standards.
BMW LET YOU RETURN YOUR DIESEL FOR FREE
- So, do you remember those new, clean, diesel engines which were made to suit Euro 6 emission standards. This isn’t such as issue in America but I wanted to highlight it because it’s an insight into why we ALL haven’t got EV’s sooner. Those new engines were introduced in 2014/15 and, typically, have a life cycle of 7 or so years. So you might wonder why so many car makers have big plans from 2020/21, that’s part of the explanation. And with a focus on ensuring those R&D costs are recouped you can expect to see another couple of bumpy years for electric cars versus combustion engines.
- As an example of that, BMW just said if you buy a diesel you can return it. Described as a last ditch attempt to shift fossil fuels cars, the ‘diesel return promise’ starts in Germany this week, and allows anyone who leases a new BMW with a diesel engine to return the car to the Munich-based carmaker if a driving restriction on diesels is introduced in a city within 62 miles of their home, according to Motor1.com.
- They continue: BMW has also announced it will offer an ‘environmental bonus’ to owners of older diesel powered vehicles which will be affected by new restrictions. Owners of Euro 4 vehicles or older can receive up to £1,770 towards the purchase of an purchase an i3, a plug-in hybrid or a new Euro 6 vehicle with CO2 emissions of 130g/km or less.
- It’s great news for those who want peace of mind but, looking at the bigger picture, if you have to offer a money back guarantee on anything you sell, whatever the product, you need to worry. I think they’re worried. They make incredible cars like the i3 and i8, soon the i4 and iX3. But yes that sounds like a company who need to shift more dirty, sorry, clean fossil fuels cars for just a little while longer.
PHEV’S SAVE FLEET OWNERS MONEY
- Moving on and fleet sales are a big profit line for car makers. And now, according to FleetNews: Data from ALD Automotive’s plug-in hybrid and ProFleet telematics trials has shown fleets could save £2,000 if they switch from diesel to PHEV.
- They say: In the six-month investigation, ALD business drivers swapped petrol and diesel cars for plugin hybrids. Running these vehicles for 15,000 miles a year for either three or four years, ALD concluded that businesses could save up to £2,000 for every vehicle replaced by the PHEV version. Matt Dale, head of consultancy at ALD, said: “We went into this trial with a very open mind and decided from the start there would be no preconceptions, but that it would be a factual review of PHEVs to see how they work. The results in certain cases have surprised us.”
INCREASING BATTERY PRODUCTION
- Next up, according to Push EVs, LG Chem’s battery plant in Poland which currently produces 100,000 batteries a year is to triple it’s output. They said: While in China Volkswagen chose CATL, in Europe Volkswagen will probably choose LG Chem as its EV battery cell supplier for the MEB platform. However, in the near future it seems that the upcoming second generation Renault Zoe and the 2019 Nissan Leaf will use most of LG Chem’s EV battery production capacity in Europe.
- They continue: Samsung SDI’s battery cell production in Hungary will start this quarter, so you can expect the much awaited battery capacity upgrade (42,62 kWh) for the BMW i3 to be announced in early summer. Furthermore, SK innovation is building its new EV battery plant in Europe. Follow the link for more from the always excellent Push EV’s website.
TESLA SUPERCHARGING PRICE INCREASE
- Since 2017 new Tesla owners have had to pay from electricity from Superchargers. Now they’re increasing those prices. Tesla’s largest market in the U.S. is California, and its rates increased from $0.20 per kWh to $0.26 per kWh. In New York, the rate increased from $0.19 per kWh to $0.24 per kWh. However, the biggest increase so far has to be Oregon, which previously had a relatively low charging fee of $0.12 per kWh. Now, it’s more in line with the other states at $0.24 per kWh.
- A similar thing happened here in the UK a while ago. A company called EcoTricity spent a lot of money early on putting in chargers on the main road networks. Whilst they were doing that, it was on free vend. Electricity became a thing which was free. And then when they said they needed to now start charging, as they’re not a charity, when you were reading the EV forums and posts on Twitter it was like people had their life savings taken away. The rates are reasonable and somehow these chargers have to be paid for along with the electricity they’re buying.
TESLA SEMI STOPS FOR A BREWSKI
- Next up, and staying with Tesla, that long range Semi Truck has been on the move, 2000 miles in fact. It showed up at the Anheuser- Busch brewery in St. Louis on. Tuesday. Teslarati point out: “Tesla’s high-powered Megachargers, are set to be installed at key locations frequently visited by fleet operators. This system would enable the Semi to travel from one facility to another without compromising its range. With this in mind, the Anheuser-Busch facility in St. Louis definitely seems to be a site where the beer giant could build a charging stations for the 40 Tesla Semis that the company ordered”.
- Tesla seem to be testing their prototypes in public which is very brave. Remember the new Roadster which stopped on the road in California, which Tesla said was very much NOT broken down, they took a bit of teasing on social media for that. So it’s good to see they’re getting the Semi clocking up real world miles to identify what needs improving.
TESLA MODEL 3 LONG RANGE MOTORS
- And third time’s a charm, a triple whammy of Tesla stories this week, and Reuters point out: Tesla’s shift to a magnetic motor using neodymium in its Model 3 Long Range car adds to pressure on already strained supplies. “Some electric car motors use the permanent magnet technology, probably the most famous is the Tesla Model 3 Long Range. All the other Tesla models ? Model X and Model 3 standard ? use induction motors,” said David Merriman, a senior analyst at metals consultancy Roskill.
- And whilst many materials which are called rare earth are actually extremely common, when they’re only found in certain parts of the world, they are open to geopolitical affects such as export bans or tariffs.
FORD URGED TO ELECTRIFY
- Moving onto Ford, I often wonder about them. The Chairman seems to talk up electric cars, and yet I follow their UK PR chief on twitter and, whilst he comes across as a really nice chap, I’ve often seen him talking down electric cars, which I always thought a little odd. So I never really know where Ford stand on electrification.
- Currently Ford makes diesel engines in the UK but, with new sales plummeting, used values in steep decline and buyers not wanting to risk buying a diesel only to find it’s working nothing in 3 years time, or even worse they have to pay an extra fee to get out of the their finance deal because the depreciation was faster than predicted by the lender, the future of that factory has been questioned by some. The union Unite yesterday presented a document outlining a strategy for the whole UK automotive industry, which it says supports 800,000 jobs. It asked the government to help the shift to electric vehicles by supporting research and development, training and investment.
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