- Monday 3rd December: Mazda, the Japanese auto-maker who thus far have barely entered the green car scene, unveiled plans to enter the EV market in 2020. Their new - as yet un-named - model will be a standalone electric car which doesn’t share its design nor name with any other car in their range.
Monday 3rd December: VW - who have ramped up their pro-green car credentials of late - have said that the “tipping point” for electric cars is almost here. Scott Keogh (VW CEO in America) said wrt a tipping point that he’s “a firm believer, and the reason it’s going to happen is because they’re going to feel they’re driving the future, driving what’s next—and that is a universal truth of consumer goods.”. The actual tipping point in terms of price compared to gasoline cars is not expected for few years more yet, but it is nonetheless positive for a major car manufacturer to genuinely think that a mentality-type tipping point is near.
Tuesday 4th December: The big political news from America was sadly that Trump’s administration is looking to abolish all green car subsidies. The $7,500 federal tax credit would be abolished by 2020-2021 if they have their way. Various car manufacturers were seeing their federal tax credits winding up anyway, but they were hopeful of them being extended. But Larry Kudlow (Trump’s Chief Economic Adviser) saying "”As a matter of our policy, we want to end all of those subsidies. And by the way, other subsidies that were imposed during the Obama administration, we are ending, whether it’s for renewables and so forth.” doesn’t sound too promising.
Tuesday 4th December: Toyota revealed more information about their Prius AWD-e (all-wheel drive hybrid) spin-off of their successful Prius hybrid range. It’ll retail at $27,300 for the LE model, and the XLE model will be $29,740. The AWD-e will have a fairly healthy 50 mpg (combined), with 52 mpg in cities and 48 mpg on highways.
Wednesday 5th December: UK EV sales in October 2018 - which were relatively high due to Government subsidies being cut imminently - were expected to drop off this month. Instead November 2018 EV registrations in the UK were 30% higher (c.f. November 2017). This is a boost for the worried UK car industry, which had to contend with the Government subsidy cuts and also Brexit:
Wednesday 5th December: Waymo - the Google spin-off working on cheap to run ride-services (to compete with Lyft and Uber) - have moved to the next phase of the Phoenix ride-hailing trials. They’re now charging for the service in four suburbs (Chandler, Tempe, Mesa and Gilbert). These self-driving taxis - which users can hail via an app - are of a similar price to Uber or Lyft, with a 3 mile (4.8 km) ride taking around 15 minutes costing $7.59. This compares to a fare of around $7.22 from Lyft. John Krafcik (Chief Executive of Waymo) said in a blog post that “Over time, we hope to make Waymo One available to even more members of the public… Self-driving technology is new to many, so we’re proceeding carefully.”.
Wednesday 5th December: In a continuation of their pro-green car rhetoric of late, VM CEO Herbert Diess revealed that they might use Ford factories in America to build VW electric cars, and also that the current generation of gasoline-powered cars will be their last. Re-using Ford’s factories could be a win-win for both companies, who want to break into the EV market: Ford could use VW’s electric car ecosystem/shell, whereas VW would benefit from Ford’s building capacity and supply-chain in America. VW are aiming to stop actively designing new gasoline-powered cars by 2026.
Thursday 6th December: Our ‘Will electric car prices fall?’ article cited research that battery price falls should mean that EVs are cheaper than gasoline cars by 2024-2025. However Chinese company Envision Energy have gone further, saying that by 2020 $/kWh of batteries will be lower than $100/kWh (a price level which would make EVs cheaper than gasoline cars), and the price could fall to as low as $50/kWh by 2025. This would lead to EVs being 20-30% cheaper than gasoline-powered cars, but it wouldn’t happen overnight. It might take a few years for these price rises to filter through to EV retail price falls:
- Friday 7th December: Vauxhall - the British car manufacturer owned by a German parent company - will accelerate their electric car plans imminently. They will electrify some of the most popular models, with PHEV and all-electric options:
- The Vauxhall e-Corsa will probably accept orders in early 2019 (for a launch in late 2019 or early 2020), aiming to compete with the Ford Fiesta. Michael Lohscheller (CEO of parent company Opel) said “The new Corsa will make electro-mobility affordable for many customers, it will be a real electric car for the people. We are putting maximum effort into the electrification of our portfolio”.
- The Vauxhall Grandland X PHEV - a SUV plugin-hybrid ersion of the existing Grandland X - will also look to arrive in 2019/2020.
- A pure-electric Vauxhall Vivaro van will follow later on, in 2020.
- A Vauxhall Mokka X EV crossover (all all-electric version of the Mokka X crossover) will also follow in 2020.