So this week seen the start of the Geneva Motor Show, which runs until the end of next week. Nonetheless, a lot of green car news came out this week, as we explore below! We also cover all the newly-announced cars at the end of this post.
Monday 4th March: Tesla have continued their price cuts (after reducing the Model 3 price down to $35,000 last week) with up to a $13,000 price cut being made to the Model X and Model S cars. The cheapest Model X model (a long range version) is now $89,200 whilst the cheapest Model S is a short-range model at $80,200. The most expensive Tesla - the Model X Performance - is now $105,200, down $13,000. These price cuts are naturally great for would-be Tesla buyers, but some recent owners have been left annoyed that their $150,000+ Model X version is no longer available (due to Tesla reorganizing their car lineup) and the next cheapest Model X is now substantially cheaper. This has harmed the second hand market for their cars, and some owners are venting on the official Tesla forums (warning: that external link contains some bad language!).
Monday 4th March: The long awaited Tesla Model Y will be unveiled next Thursday, with test drives available - according to Tweets from Tesla owner Elon Musk. It is an SUV which is “about 10% bigger” than the Tesla Model 3, and so Musk says it will “cost about 10%” more - possibly meaning just under $40,000 if he is referring to the cheapest Model 3 version. We will bring you all the news about the Model Y in next week’s news roundup:
Model Y, being an SUV, is about 10% bigger than Model 3, so will cost about 10% more & have slightly less range for same battery— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 3, 2019
- Tuesday 5th March: Audi are not just aiming to compete with Tesla via their Audi e-tron quattro, according to the newly unveiled Audi Q4 e-tron which is an SUV and aiming to compete more with the Tesla Model Y (since the Q4 is a compact SUV, fitting between the Q3 and Q5 Audi cars). A 82 kWh battery will delivery up to 280 miles (450 km) of range, and it should be available towards the end of 2019:
Wednesday 6th March: Honda, the Japanese car manufacturer, are aiming to have a “fully electrified” car lineup by the middle of the next decade. This does not mean all-electric cars, however, with “full hybrid technology to play a key role in meeting [their] aims of 100% electrification by 2025”, according to a Honda company statement. It is expected that much of Honda’s imminent electrified line-up will be based in Japan and Europe, with the new Honda e-Prototype not being shipped to America.
Wednesday 6th March: Piëch, a new green car startup based in Switzerland, have demonstrated a concept car at the Geneva motor show which can charge up its 300 mile (482 km) range battery (to 80%) in under 5 minutes: 4 minutes and 40 seconds, to be precise. This would be around the same time as fuelling up a gasoline car, of course. It is thought that this technology would require 900 kW chargers, which currently do not exist outside of select Chinese cities. Current battery technology limitations have previously meant that charging beyond 250-350 kW would be tricky, so a 900 kW charging rate would be a big breakthrough - if it can work beyond just a specific concept demo, that is.
Wednesday 6th March: A Tesla blog post has announced V3 of their supercharger, which is a completely new architecture for the supercharger network (requiring Model X and S hardware upgrades, along with new power equipment within the Tesla superchargers). Charge rates will be up to 250 kW, allowing for a Model 3 Long Rate to recover up to 75 miles (121 km) of charge in just 5 minutes. Whilst this sounds tiny compared to the above news from Piëch, the V3 superchargers should halve the amount of time that Tesla owners need to spend in a supercharger. Battery charging works best with warm batteries, so Tesla cars will also start warming up the batteries (if needed) when they are on-route to a supercharger - also reducing charge times by around 25%.
Friday 8th March: The Nissan Leaf has just sold its 400,000 car Worldwide - a great feat for the best selling car ever. This comes on the back of the Nissan Leaf Plus (long range model) going on sale, whilst the Tesla Model 3 is selling strongly with around 215,000 sold so far. Daniele Schillaci, Nissan’s executive VP, said: “This milestone is a powerful statement that 400,000 customers and counting, value the Nissan LEAF for the excitement, confidence and connection it delivers.”. The leaf has been on sale since 2010, leading to just under 40,000 sales each year (on average) so far. We do think that the Model 3 will overtake the Leaf (in terms of overall sales) in the next 2-3 years, but it is nonetheless good to see the iconic Leaf selling so well over the past decade.
Friday 8th March: In addition to the SEC taking action against Elon Musk’s tweeting, a group of big investors are also suing Elon Musk according to Bloomberg. This group of institutional investors is aiming to block Elon Musk’s “unchecked use of Twitter to make inaccurate statements about the company”, with the investment group concerned that Musk’s “repeated misstatements” is harming the company - and hence its shareholders.
Friday 8th March: American green car sales for February 2019 have been released, and they suggest a decline of demand: just a 2% increase for plug-in electric cars (which includes PHEVs) compared to February 2018. 17,200 vehicles were nonetheless sold last month, including 5,750 Tesla Model 3 vehicles. America did enjoy a sales boom throughout 2018 so 2019 in comparison will not be quite as spectacular. It will nonetheless be interesting to see whether other countries also see a softening for green car sales, or whether this is just a one-off.
Sunday 10th March: A new policy by Major Walsh or Boston will aim to massively increase electric charging infrastructure in the city, with parking lots and newly built garages requiring EVSE chargers - or at least wiring for them. The Mayor’s plans “charging stations for electric cars will require all new spaces in city parking garages to support electric vehicles, and all new private garages must have chargers in 25 percent of their spaces, with the rest wired for future use”, according to the Boston Globe.
Geneva Motor Show 2019: Unveiled Green Cars
We take a look at the various green cars that were unveiled at this week’s Geneva Motor Show:
The Kia Imagine is an all-electric crossover which also helps to showcase some of Kia's future EV technology.
French supermini Peugeot 208 will have an all-electric cousin later in 2019 with the 50 kWh battery powered e-208.
Audi Q4 e-tron
As mentioned earlier, Audi are aiming to compete with the upcoming Tesla Model Y via their small compact SUV Q4 e-tron, an all-electric car which supports 150 kW rapid DC charging.
Alfa Romeo Tonale PHEV
A rare Alfa Romeo PHEV has been unveiled, in the form of a Tonale PHEV (plug-in hybrid). The mid-size SUV could enter production later in 2019.
Fiat Centoventi EV
Fiat have unveiled a surprise all-electeric vehicle with their Centoventi city car, aiming to be an affordable way of transporting around city centres. It will only offer an initial 62 miles (100 km) range, but with options for extra battery packs to be fitted.
Honda have also unveiled a compact all-electric car designed for urban driving, aiming to cover 125 miles (200 km) in a single charge but with rapid recharging speeds of as little as 30 minutes. Orders will be taken in 2019, for deliveries in 2020.
Citroen Ami One
The tiny Citroen Ami One french car is a two-seater which is aiming to be the ultimate city centre driving tool, albeity with a top speed of 26 mph (40 kmph) and a 62 mile (100 km) range.
Skoda Vision IV
Czech company Skoda are starting to accelerate their electrification plans, with their crossover/sedan style Vision iV which could have a range beyond 300 miles (482 km) from a 83 kWh battery supporting 100 kW rapid DC charging.
Nissan IMq Concept
Japanese company Nissan have unveiled their IMq concept which gathered a lot of attention, and is aiming to inspire the next Qashqai with its unique but family-sized chassis. It's expected to be a high-power electric vehicle, albeit it'll be a range-extended EV instead of a plug-in model.
Challenger car company Polestar have announced with Polestar 2 saloon electric car with over 300 miles (482 km) of range, and aiming to challenge Tesla and Audi with its 4.7 second 0.62 mph (0-100 kmph) performance.