Published on December 17th, 2017 | by Zachary Shahan0
What Changed In The Electric Vehicle Market In November?
December 17th, 2017 by Zachary Shahan
As part of our new “What Changed … ?” series, here’s a rundown of what changed in November in the EV market. Since this is a new series, I’ll reiterate what I wrote in the solar update (changing a few words): “To further clarify, this article doesn’t include interesting op-eds about solar and it doesn’t include news that we thought was worth covering but wasn’t really a change in the industry (like specific projects or reports — well, for the most part). It covers significant shifts, trends, and new opportunities in the solar market.”
Also, this update excludes battery stories since I covered EV batteries this month in “What Changed In The EV Battery Market In November?“
While Model 3 production crawled along and bottlenecks were identified and getting corrected, and while Nissan LEAF production and sales began their transition from first-gen cars to second-gen cars, the Chevy Bolt held its spot at #1 in US electric car sales. Well deserved.
January may change up the sales ranking order, though, as Tesla Model 3 configuration/order invitations started getting sent to non-Tesla/SpaceX employees in late November. Some of those customers will get their cars in December, but we’re expecting a lot more start getting deliveries in January, potentially giving the Model 3 the #1 spot in the first month of the new year.
Demonstrating perhaps more than anything else how the industry is shifting, oil company Royal Dutch Shell announced it is partnering with various large automakers on the IONITY superfast, high-power charging station network.
Tesla Superchargers and IONITY aren’t the only games in town, though. “Europe is celebrating another coming electric highway (e-highway), one that stretches from Norway to Italy. E.ON and Clever are working on this north–south e-Highway.”
Over in China, Didi Chuxing, the largest ride-hailing company in the world, plans to just build its own charging network (following the Tesla model … to some extent). Didi also plans to work with NEVS (the successor to Saab, based in Trollhätten, Sweden) on self-driving vehicles.
Tesla opened its largest Supercharger station in North America in November. As an individual project, it wouldn’t normally qualify for the “What Changed … ?” series, but it marked a significant departure from the norm by including a lounge, WiFi, comfortable seating, recreational facilities, and a store, among other things. I think this station a preview of what’s going to become much more common across the Tesla Supercharger network and across long-distance, high-power EV charging networks from other companies as well.
Normally, we’d skip announcements about the future. I prefer to document actual events and shifts in the industry in this series. But GM execs stating that self-driving cars will launch in dense urban environments in 2019 is a big one. Being GM, that means the Chevy Bolt EV.
Also huge (if a ways off in the future), GM announced plans for a profitable line of fully electric vehicles by 2021.
GM may be sprinting toward a self-driving app-based taxi future, but it seems Waymo practically there and is going to beat everyone else to market. Waymo service in Chrysler Pacifica plug-in hybrid vans will apparently start soon in some markets. I’m going to guess that means the first quarter of 2018.
Not to be left out, Ford plans to start testing self-driving cars in certain US cities in 2018 itself. Which of these various players have legitimately competitive and nearly ready self-driving vehicles? Ford? GM? Waymo? Tesla? It looks like we’ll have to wait a bit longer to compare, but 2018–2020 look to be big years for the opening of this market.
SAE has introduced a new wireless EV charging station standard. The new standard goes up to 11 kW, which is quite powerful for home, workplace, or destination charging. Is wireless EV charging the next big thing in the EV industry?
“Three of the top aviation engine engineering firms in the world — Airbus, Siemens, and Rolls-Royce — are now collaborating on the development of a hybrid electric aircraft engine.” Nuff said. But read more.
In the same space — sort of — Geely wrapped up an acquisition of VTOL/flying car startup Terrafugia. Are EVs finally ready to take to the skies? (Admittedly, I’m not holding my breath. And I’m also not keen on the idea. It’s bad enough having large vehicle clog our streets — I’d really rather they not clog our skies.)
Volkswagen and Chinese partner JAC are jointly investing $12 billion over the next 7 years into their EV growth and development in China.
Mentioned in the EV battery article, but I think worth highlighting here as well since the investment goes beyond batteries, Daimler is investing 5 billion yuan (~$755 million) into its EV development in China, alongside joint-venture partner BAIC, the largest automaker in China. This is part of Daimler’s broader plan to invest €10 billion (~$11.74 billion) into EVs by 2025.
Back to EV charging, hot emerging EV market India is planning national standards for EV charging to help facilitate fast adoption of EVs in the country.
The Indian government also said it would put out a tender for 10,000 electric vehicles in March, showing in another way that it’s quite serious about wanting to lead in the EV industry.
Eyeing this super hot emerging market, Toyota and Suzuki agreed to cooperate on EVs for India.
Image via Palisade
A coalition of auto manufacturers has agreed to source all EV minerals ethically. What precisely that means and how it will affect the industry in the future is a bit unclear at this point, but it sounds like good news.
Liverpool (England) is installing 100 EV charge points and introducing an anti-idling pilot scheme. We need more cities to follow suit.
What beats an electric car? An electric bike or trike. UPS gets it. UPS has started delivering packages with electric trikes in various locations.
“NIO Capital, the investment fund established by the China-based electric vehicle manufacturer NIO, is now working with various prospective investors to create a $500 million fund to complement its first yuan fund,” James Ayre reported at the end of the month. The fund would support domestic (Chinese) as well as foreign startups.
“The digital mapping company HERE has revealed that it will be acquiring Advanced Telematic Systems, a German ‘over-the-air’ software updating service for connected and self-driving vehicles,” James also reported. Why is this a big deal for EVs? Self-driving cars will be EVs. EVs could benefit tremendously from OTA updates, but only Tesla uses them. And self-driving cars could benefit tremendously from OTA updates (seems like it will be a basic expectation for such cars).
In what sounds like an odd partnership to me for some reason — but one that could have huge impact — Uber and top India EV manufacturer Mahindra & Mahindra have partnered to try to more quickly advance the EV market in India.
Electric bus orders seemed to keep growing and growing. The hot new large EV market, though, is trucks. For a comprehensive rundown of the market players and coming models, see: “Electric Semi Trucks & Heavy-Duty Trucks — Available Models & Planned Models.”
Kia introduced the Niro PHEV at the LA Auto Show. The car brings an all-electric range of 26 miles. I expect this vehicle to see strong sales once production hits the ground running.
Since there were several other product unveilings, releases, or expansions in November, here’s a quick rundown of those:
♦ Tata Nano EV (the Tata Nano was the world’s cheapest car when it was launched in 2009)
♦ Alta Motors Redshift Electric Motorcycles (now available at 41 dealerships across the US).
♦ Ampere 1 (a cool three-wheel EV)
♦ Tesla Semi (heard about that one?) — check our archives for several updates and order details
Toyota, meanwhile, still thinks EVs aren’t ready for the mass market.
For other notable EV updates in November, see: