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Electric vehicle round-up

Manufacturers increase commitment to battery tech and infrastructure despite downbeat KPMG report.

The 2018 KPMG Global Automotive Executive Survey claims more than half (54%) of global auto executives believe battery electric vehicles (BEVs) will fail commercially due to infrastructure challenges.  Some 60% also share similar views about excessive recharging times, while 77% (85% in the US) believe fuel-cells will be the real break-through for electric mobility.

Despite these figures, OEMs are making huge investments in battery electric technology and developing new models.

According to KPMG's Automotive Sector leader: "There is no question that automakers are adapting to stricter vehicle efficiency standards around the world, and electrification is a big part of that equation even as manufacturers continue to squeeze MPG out of internal combustion engines.”

The survey states consumers are wary of pure battery EVs with only 13% outside the US and 5% of US car owners claiming they would buy a pure BEV over the next five years.

Meanwhile, UK EV registrations hit an all time high, up 34% in 2017, according to the automotive trade body, SMMT. According to Go Ultra Low, London and Eastern England registered the biggest number of EVs with the Nissan LEAF, the UK's best seller.

Plug-in hybrid cars like the popular BMW 330e, VW Golf GTE, and Hyundai IONIQ, delivered the highest volume of registrations with more than 33,000 arriving on UK roads, around 25% up on the previous year.

Meanwhile, new legislation has been introduced in California requiring all new vehicles sold in the State after 1 January 2040 to be zero emission, prohibiting even hybrid vehicles.  Currently there are nearly 300,000 EVs on Californian roads, but with EVs making up only 1.9% of 2016 new car sales, there is still a long way to go.

Toyota Prius dashboard

Toyota Prius dashboard screen  Image: Creative Commons

After China's emissions regulations forced a change in Toyota's business model, the Japanese car giant has announced a breakthrough in next-generation sold-state batteries.

The company aims to introduce its first EV into China followed by Japan, India, the US and Europe.

With a 20-year history in petrol-electric hybrids, the company is stepping up to the EV market having faced challenges in battery energy density, cost and weight.

It now intends to commercialize next-generation solid-state batteries in the early 2020s, announcing a joint venture with Mazda and Denso Corp. to develop an architecture for EVs.

China start-up, Nio, has joined Tesla in the high-end consumer EV market, with the Nio ES8 achieving 0-60 mph per hour in just 4.4 seconds.  The ES8 has a base price of 448,000 yuan ($68,114) before subsidies, according to the company, significantly cheaper than Tesla's comparative Model X.

Including a NIO Pilot system, the ES8 boasts a trifocal front-facing camera, four surrounding exterior cameras, five millimetre-wave radars, 12 ultrasonic sensors and a driver monitor camera. In addition, the ES8's charging system allows its battery to be replaced in just three minutes.

Finally, in a bid to encourage EVs, China's neighbour Taiwan plans to install more than 3,000 EV charging stations with five years, bringing the total number to 5,010. These facilities will be able to support the 226,000 vehicles expected to be on Taiwanese roads by 2022.

Tags: Asia, China, electric vehicles, N America, OEM Equipment, Toyota

Published 10th January, 2018

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