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Well good morning, good afternoon and good evening, wherever you are in the world, hello and welcome to the Sunday 16th September edition of EV News Daily. It’s Martyn Lee here with the news you need to know about electric cars and the move towards sustainable transport.
Thank you to MYEV.com for helping make this show, they’ve built the first marketplace specifically for Electric Vehicles. It’s a totally free marketplace that simplifies the buying and selling process, and help you learn about EVs along the way too.
BMW iNEXT CONCEPT
- Sandwiched between the Mercedes EQC launch a while back, and the Audi e-tron Quattro launch today, BMW revealed their iNext concept. OK so yes let’s get that out of the way first, it’s a concept.
- They loaded it onto the back of a Boeing 777 and toured the world last week, inviting journalists to literally see it ON the plane.
- When this enters production it will be as part of BMW’s SUV offering from 2021 and it’s certainly striking. Sorry not SUV, but SAV, Sports Activity Vehicle.
- But more about the looks in a moment. BMW are bringing to market 12 completely new pure electric cars by 2025, and since the i3 will be gone when it’s gone, that really does mean 12 new cars, the first of those is the all-electric MINI next year and soon after the iX3.
- This is intended to be what BMW call a “identification car”, something to guide a whole string of i cars. It’s just over 5 metres long, has oversized 24 inch wheels and if you like the suicide doors of the BMW i3, this has the same. So no B pillar and nice clean lines. The size is about the same as an X5.
- As we’ve seen on other EVs, like the Hyundai Kona, ultra slim headlights are order of the day and on the iNext they sit either side of the huge kidney grill. Or as Engadget called it, a beaver tooth. Talking of oversized, the grille is enormous. If i was being generous I’d call it a statement, but given drag and aerodynamics are the focus of any EV hoping to be more than just a city car, this doesn’t look very efficient. In fact the whole front of the car looks like it’s designed for a fossil engine or hydrogen, because it’s got a big bonnet and that huge vertical slab of a grille. Although it’s blanked off because EVs don’t need the cooling of a fossil or airflow of hydrogen, I can’t see why you’d design a BEV like that – but that’s why I’m not designing cars for a living! The theory of that giant grille is supposedly where all the autonomous and self-driving tech will live.
- Moving inside it’s pure concept car and a step too far to even be considered for production in the next two years. In the back you won’t get a screen, but a technology called Intelligent Beam, which uses projectors of tracking blank pages of a blank book and projecting content onto them. Like i said, this is pure concept artsy fartsyness. There is a centre console more like a walnut coffee table and it’s a touch sensitive control pad. You think the inside of a Model 3 is different, BMW seem to want you to poke fabric and stroke wood – and everything becomes a surface.
- Gestures continue to be part of the designers vision, and for anyone who has tried gesture controlling anything, you’ll know its rubbish. Given how fast Amazon Echo and Google Home have spread in the last two year, I continue to be amazed that no car maker has said the future is voice. It’s clear to most forward-thinking people, not just futurologists, that voice is already huge as more people add smart speakers to their houses. After all what’s safer than both hands on the wheel and both eyes on the road!
- Whilst a lot of talk has gone into the design of this, the practicalities of being a legacy car maker trying to fight Tesla, with their start fast-mover advantage, eventually kick in. This will be built on a platform which can take electric petrol or diesel powertrains. Some would say a compromise too far, others say it’s a clever way of managing the transition to electric for established companies. So that would answer my question of why it looks so unlike you’d design a pure electric car. BMW say it’s large enough for a 120kWh battery. And given how fast charging networks are springing up in Europe like IONITY, and Electrify America, surely once you get to that size of battery it’s all the energy you’d need.
- Klaus Fröhlich, BMW’s board member said: “This is not just a show car, It’s a promise. In 2021, you will get it.”
- After all the wishy washy concept talk, InsideEVs’ actually have some real news from BMW: “BMW has developed its own battery cells, which will be used in all upcoming EVs and PHEVs. BMW’s battery partner has been Samsung SDI since 2012, but that’s about to change. Currently, Samsung SDI provides BMW the cells which BMW packages in its own modules. Moving forward, BMW has contracted Chinese battery maker CATL to manufacture the cells, but they are indeed BMW’s design. they will only need two different battery cell sizes. One is a taller cell for SUVs that have more room below the passenger compartment. The second is a low-profile cell for the automaker’s sedans that need to sit lower than SUVs and crossovers. Both are large-format rectangular cells, unlike the cylindrical cells that Tesla uses.”
- Back to Klaus, who said: “In electromobility, you have to be a cost leader,” he said. “If you are not a cost leader you will not survive.”
- I would say one thing though which none of the articles over the weekend mentioned but I think worth saying, if you Google BMW i3 concept, you can see the car they came out with as a concept for the i3, at the time people said it’s all fanciful and will be watered down, but the i3 really is a car which didn’t change much from concept to production.
- So now, over to you Audi, and the e-tron unveiling today in San Francisco.
AUDI ALREADY ADVERTISING E-TRON ELECTRIC SUV AHEAD OF THE LAUNCH EVENT
- A few days ahead of the unveiling of the e-tron the TV commercial is on YouTube and i have to say, it’s incredibly good. We’re so used to Tesla building the most amazing cars in huge numbers, chances are 50,000 Model 3’s this quarter alone. But whilst they’re a cheerleader by making products, they don’t advertise. They don’t NEED to. They have 400,000 reservation holders who’s handed over real cash in line for a car.
- However Audi are taking a more traditional approach and spending big on advertising. And advertising their EV helps the whole movement. Their YouTube description says “Up until now the full promise of the electric car has gone unfulfilled. That’s about to change. This is electric like you have never seen it. This is electric unleashed.”
- The text on screen during the ad says: “we did not invent the electric car, we injected it with the Audi DNA. And unleashed it. Electric has gone Audi. Connected. Quattro. Electric has gone Audi. The first all-electric Audi”
- The small print says “European model shown” because, any guesses, the lack of wing mirrors. They are short stubby little cameras but due to US laws, you get traditional wing mirrors.
SK INNOVATION EXPECT STRONG Q3 AMID EV GROWTH
- “SK Innovation’s battery business also looks promising given its sharp growth in recent months. According to SNE Research, a battery market tracker, SK Innovation rolled out 315.4 megawatt-hours of electric vehicle (EV) batteries in the first seven months of this year.” reports Korea Times: “It represented 134.8 percent growth during the period, which was the highest among the world’s top 10 battery makers. SK Innovation’s market share also grew to 2 percent from 1.3 percent during the period.”
- “SK Innovation plans to enhance its EV battery capacity to 20 gigawatt-hours per year by 2020,” Hyundai Motor Securities analyst Kang Dong-jin said. “Based on its battery technology and stable cash flow of its other businesses, SK Innovation can nurture its battery business in the long term.”
CHARGEPOINT TO GROW GLOBAL EV CHARGING NETWORK TO 2.5 MILLION
- “ChargePoint, operator of one of the world’s largest charging station networks for electric vehicles (EV), is targeting a near fifty-fold increase in its global network of loading spots by the middle of next decade, it said on Friday.” according to a weekend Reuters report: “The group, in which German companies BMW, Daimler and Siemens hold stakes, aims to operate 2.5 million charging points by 2025, up from a network of around 53,000 currently, it said in a statement.”
- ChargePoint chief executive Pasquale Romano said: “Our commitment to deploy 2.5 million charging spots by 2025 comes as the company embarks on the most significant period of growth in our history and in the midst of a revolution in transportation”
- “The group has raised $125 million to expand in Europe and told Reuters last year that it might go public by 2022”
LEAF LEADS IN NORWAY
- Another month and another great set of sales figures for the Nissan LEAF – the world’s most popular EV. In fact, as an aside, someone called me up on this over the weekend. And asked on Twitter why I say that. Because it has sold 43,000 of the new model in just 8 months of 2018 and more than 348,000 global sales since it’s 2010 debut. Anyhoo. In Norway it has been the leading EV again, 1,241 LEAFs sold there. EVs with plugs had 42% market share of all cars sold, that’s double diesel.
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How was your EV buying experience? Dealer? Price? Lease? Used or new? What are your successes and fails? Tell me your EV buying experience.
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