Thursday, 29 November 2018

Audi reveals the E-Tron GT, an all-electric sports car

Audi reveals the E-Tron GT, an all-electric sports car - KTVZ
Iron Man star Robert Downey Jr. helped unveil Audi's upcoming all-electric sports car just before the official kickoff of the Los Angeles Auto Show. The Audi E-Tron GT is expected to go on sale in 2020.
With 590 horsepower, the E-Tron GT will be capable of going from zero to 60 miles an hour in about 2.5 seconds. It's top speed will be about 149 miles an hour.
The slope-backed four-door shares much of its engineering with the upcoming Porsche Taycan. Porsche and Audi are both subsidiaries of Volkswagen AG and the two brands collaborated on the cars' fundamental engineering.
Like the Audi E-Tron crossover SUV unveiled in San Francisco in September, the E-Tron GT doesn't look startlingly different from Audi's current combustion-powered cars. It's a little lower and its sides are more sculpted than the similarly shaped Audi A7. It even has a version of Audi's trademark grill, despite the fact that electric vehicles don't need nearly as much cooling air as gasoline- or diesel-powered vehicles.
The car unveiled in Los Angeles is technically a concept car, but Audi executives insisted it is very close to the final production version that will go on sale in a couple of years.
Like Tesla's all-wheel-drive cars, the E-Tron GT is powered by two separate electric motors, one for the front wheels and one for the back. It also has four-wheel steering, enabling tighter cornering.
The E-Tron concept car has a range of just under 250 miles on a full charge according to a standard European driving test, Audi said. With fast charging, the battery will be able to charge up to 80% of that range, or about 200 miles, in 20 minutes. Wireless charging will also be available on the production version, Audi said.
Volkswagen AG has made major commitments to producing electric vehicles. As part of that, Audi has said it will have 12 all-electric cars on the market by 2025. Audi has also said that, by that time, at least a third of its sales will be of autos that are at least partly powered by electricity.

Volkswagen will deliver $30,000 to $40,000 electric car in 2020

 This is a Volkswagen I.D. Crozz.
Volkswagen will introduce an electric car in the U.S. in 2020, the brand's new U.S. CEO told reporters Wednesday at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
The electric car will be priced in the range of $30,000 to $40,000, VW's Scott Keogh said in a group interview. 
At that price range, the vehicle will compete with the similarly priced Tesla Model 3 and the Chevrolet Bolt, which are already available for sale. The Bolt starts at about $37,000, and Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said the company will begin selling $35,000 Model 3 base models in 2019.
VW has revealed several concept electric vehicles under a new nameplate, I.D., over the last two years or so. Those models provided a preview of what could be next for the company.
Keogh declined to say whether the new electric car would be a derivation of the I.D. concept models, such as the I.D. Crozz crossover.
The car will be imported to the U.S. from one of Volkswagen's foreign factories, Keogh confirmed.

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Trump Threatening GM’s Electric Car ‘Subsidies’ Over the Plant Closures

GM is closing at least four U.S. plants and one in Canada and slashing its workforce by 15 percent—about 14,000 people—while things are relatively “good” as it prepares to invest more heavily in electric cars and autonomous technology.
And perhaps even worse, Trump’s Director of the National Economic Council and Man Who Is Always Wrong About Everything All The Time Always Like How Can One Person Just Constantly Be Consistently Wrong About Everything, Larry Kudlow, implied to White House reporters that Trump is really just going to use this whole GM thing to scrap not just subsidies for GM’s electric cars, but ALL electric cars (via The Hill):
“We are going to be looking at certain subsidies regarding electric cars and others, whether they should apply or not. I can’t say anything final about that, but we’re looking into it,” Kudlow told reporters in a White House briefing before Trump’s tweet.
“Again, that reflects the president’s own disappointment regarding these actions,” he said of the plant closings.
From a business perspective, GM’s moves make sense. Historically the company had to be dragged kicking and screaming into making any sort of cuts, layoffs, or just generally good decisions. This is a rare example of GM getting ahead of the curve, and a possible economic downturn in 2019, instead of being broken and bloated when it has to beg for another federal taxpayer bailout.
And, hell, some of the plants being closed made cars that people have all but stopped buying, thanks to a shift in consumer demand. The Lordstown, Ohio plant makes one car, and one car only—the Chevrolet Cruze—on just one shift. It employs about 1,500 people, down from the 4,500 workers it had just a few years ago. Its fate was probably written a long time ago.
But as with all things in capitalism, it sucks the most for workers, and while the plant closures don’t happen until early next year (and the unions will fight against them) it’s just the kind of shitty right-before-the-holidays news that really makes you feel like trash deep down inside.
And as we noted in today’s Morning Shift, these cuts are happening in Michigan and Ohio, places that were strongholds for Trump in the 2016 election, and places he promised jobs were coming back to. Take this, from Bloomberg:
President Donald Trump said he expects General Motors to keep an Ohio assembly complex open after its production of the Chevrolet Cruze ends early next year. Bryan Keeley said he wants to believe it, but he’s heard talk like that before.
Keeley is one of the thousands of workers at GM’s Lordstown factory near Youngstown who learned that the plant is being idled in March, with no new production promised. He said he voted for Trump two years ago because of the Republican’s vow to help American workers.
“I thought he was going to do miracles for us, so did a lot of other autoworkers,’’ Keeley, 46, said outside Ross’ Eatery and Pub near the plant. Keeley has worked for GM for 26 years but has been laid off since June. “He needs to step up to the plate and do what he said.’’
And this:
Tommy Wolikow, a Lordstown resident who said he was laid off from the plant on the day Trump was inaugurated last year, has been attending his rallies with the Good Jobs Nation coalition to bring attention to the plight of workers. He said the first political rally he attended was the one last year in Youngstown where Trump told voters not to sell their homes.
Wolikow, 36, who had bought a house two miles from the Lordstown plant, resisted seeking a transfer to another GM facility because he didn’t want to uproot his family and still had hopes of returning to work.
Now, unable to find another job and maxing out his credit cards, he’s put in for a transfer and isn’t sure he can trust Trump’s assurances the plant will remain open. “It’s hard to keep on thinking that he’s going to fight for us,’’ Wolikow said.
It’s heartbreaking stuff even if the Cruze wasn’t selling well. And it’s no wonder these people think this way, when the president said exactly this in Ohio back in 2017, and similar things when on the 2016 campaign trail:
“They’re all coming back. They’re all coming back. Don’t move, don’t sell your house,” the president said during a July 2017 visit to Youngstown, Ohio. “We’re going to fill up those factories or rip them down and build new ones.”
So Trump’s in a shitty spot here, and the answer, apparently, is to “[cut] all GM subsidies including for electric cars.” That is... definitely a response! That would do the opposite of saving American factory jobs!
As with all things Trump, one wonders next: “Can he even... do that?” And as of this evening, that remains unclear. He’s even kind of wrong when he uses the word “subsidies.” Presumably, the president is referring to the $7,500 tax credit on electric vehicles. But even then, those are capped at 200,000 cars per manufacturer. And GM, having been selling EVs and plug-in hybrids for years now, is due to hit that limit pretty soon. In theory the president could “kill” them early, but... why, other than as a gift to oil companies, which would be very on-brand for him? Would that even sway GM to reverse its decision on the Ohio plant? Doubtful!
We must also point out that this is a mess partially of Trump’s own making. Yes, GM is cutting plants and jobs for lots of reasons, like the shift to SUVs and our nebulous future. But it’s also taken a financial hit thanks to Trump’s tariffs on imported aluminum and steel (those have cost Ford about $1 billion as well this year) and GM has warned for months that such tariffs could cause cuts and job losses. They may not have been a huge reason for the job cuts, but they remain a factor. Even scarier is the looming trade war between the U.S. and China over other tariffs.
GM, of course, isn’t some hapless victim here, as it didn’t reinvest its generous Trump corporate tax cut into American jobs, which politicians on both sides of the aisle are furious about. Is the answer here to cut GM’s electric car tax breaks? Or even to slash all electric car tax breaks, which at this point in human events would be just deranged? Probably not, but backing off on this pointless and disruptive trade war may be a better one.

Monday, 26 November 2018

Rivian R1T electric pickup boasts 400-mile range, supercar-baiting acceleration

The claimed 400-mile range is achieved with a massive 180-kilowatt-hour battery pack. Rivian will also offer 105-kWh and 135-kWh battery-pack options, with 230 miles and 300 miles of range, respectively. You’ll need the lighter 135-kWh battery pack to have the quickest R1T, as Rivian claims this version will do zero to 60 mph in 3.0 seconds flat. The longer-range 180-kWh model takes 3.2 seconds, according to Rivian, while the 105-kWh version requires 4.9 seconds to reach 60 mph.
Each battery pack comes with a different power output: the top 180-kWh model has a claimed 700 horsepower and 826 pound-feet of torque, the 135-kWh version is rated at 745 hp and 826 lb-ft, and the 105-kWh variant is rated at 402 hp and 413 lb-ft. All versions are limited to 125 mph, and Rivian claims maximum towing capacity of 11,000 pounds. Eventually, Rivian plans to offer “Level 3” autonomous-driving capability, meaning the truck will be able to steer, accelerate, and brake autonomously in certain situations during highway driving.
Similar in size to midsize pickup trucks like the Chevrolet Colorado or Toyota Tacoma, the R1T is built on what Rivian calls a “skateboard” chassis. General Motors coined that term for its early 2000s hydrogen fuel-cell concept cars, and the idea is basically the same here. All mechanical components are housed in the chassis, which then has different bodies placed on top to make different vehicles (Rivian is only discussing the R1T pickup and R1S SUV for now).
The R1T is powered by an electric motor at each wheel, giving it all-wheel drive. Going electric allows more precise control of torque output, Rivian noted, enhancing performance both on-road and off-road. The R1T also features adjustable air suspension that can jack the truck up to clear off-road obstacles, and Rivian claims it can drive through up to 1 meter (3.2 feet) of water.
The truck’s “skateboard” chassis freed up plenty of storage space. In addition to the bed, The R1T features a front trunk and a storage compartment where the transmission tunnel would be in an internal-combustion truck. Rivian also designed the R1T to act as a mobile power source: you can draw electricity from a 110-volt outlet (as well as numerous USB and USB Type-C ports) as well as air from the suspension system to run compressed-air equipment.
Pricing will start at $69,000, or $61,500 once the $7,500 federal tax credit for electric vehicles is applied. Rivian plans to begin deliveries in late 2020, starting with the 180-kWh and 135-kWh models. The 105-kWh version will follow “within 12 months” of the start of production, according to Rivian. The company is accepting $1,000 refundable deposits, and has secured a former Mitsubishi plant in Normal, Illinois, to build the truck. But like many startups, Rivian may find that building cars in large volumes is more difficult than it seems.

Sunday, 25 November 2018

Mahindra expects quicker flow of Formula E EV technology to road cars

New Delhi, Nov 25 () Having put its bet on EVs, Mahindra group expects the technology from world electric car racing series Formula E to flow at a faster pace to its e-road cars, according to Chairman Anand Mahindra.
The group, whose Mahindra Racing is among the ten founding teams in the FIA Formula E Championship, has already tapped the technology from the series for the upcoming electric hypercar concept, PF-Zero, developed by Italian design house Pininfarina.
"An enormous amount of technology is flowing from Formula E. I expect that to happen even better this year as the new M5 Electro car, the new Formula E car does not have a need to swap a battery in the field. The same car will run the whole race," Mahindra told .
Stating that it is a "huge huge leap in durability and the range of the battery", he said," That is cutting edge stuff. It will flow right in (to road electric cars)."
He said the group having its own Formula E team enables it to get an inside view.
"In fact, even our race car drivers are in touch with Pininfarina for the PF Zero. They gave very active inputs into the technology of that car," he said.
When asked how much of those cutting-edge electric vehicle technology can trickle down to mass-market electric cars, he said, "The gap between race to road is a very small one in Formula E."
In Formula 1, the racing series for conventional internal combustion engines, it is a much bigger gap, he added.
Mahindra said technology transition from racing to road
in electric cars is faster as it is "like a digital device and the possibility of updating is also much much higher".
Reiterating the group's commitment to push forward for EVs, Mahindra said, "As far as I am concerned the bet we took is the right one. We are in fact increasing it by getting in technology as opposed to just the product."
He said there is an opportunity right from the Euro 2 million Pininfarina PF-Zero going down to electric kick scooter. MSS RKL MR.

Friday, 23 November 2018

Tesla slashing prices in China

Tesla slashing prices in China
Tesla is making a new move to keep its foothold in the Chinese market.
The electric-car maker is cutting prices for the second time this year by up to 26 percent.
Why now?
Tesla’s business in China has been troubled by tariffs.
The company cut prices back in May when China promised to reduce tariffs on imported cars.
In July, when the trade dispute escalated and China ramped up tariffs on U.S.-produced cars, Tesla said that it would have to pass some of the costs on to the consumer.
Tesla has now reversed course the company says to stay competitive.
China is the world's biggest market for electric cars. The country already accounts for 20 percent of Tesla's sales.
Tesla is also keeping an eye on local competition from the likes of BYD and NIO that could undercut Tesla on price.
The company is also building a Gigafactory in Shanghai. It will be its first facility outside of the U.S. and that will allow it to avoid tariffs and significantly ramp up production into that market. Tesla says that it wants to accelerate those plans, but for a facility on this scale it will still take several years.
The basic Model S version of the car now costs 782,900 yaun ($113,000) according to CNN. That price is down from 849,000 yaun ($112,525).
The most expensive version of the Model X has gone from 1.57 million yuan ($227,000) to around 1.2 million yuan ($171,000), according to CNN.

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

First Drive: 2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid first drive review: all the bits and pieces in place

The Toyota RAV4 has been around for more than two decades but its recent performance has been nothing short of spectacular as its sales have doubled in the past five years, which is most impressive for a vehicle in various iterations has been around for more than 20 years.
However, the competition is intense. Toyota’s market share it can rightfully claim it created in the segment is under siege from rivals from North America, Europe and Asia.
But Toyota isn’t sitting still either. With the 2019 RAV4, it is substantially changing the character of compact utility vehicle with more power, a new exterior look and an impressive hybrid version that Toyota expects to account for significant sales volume that is quite likely to surpass that of the Prius.
The 2019 RAV4 Hybrid delivers more power and comes with all-wheel-drive. It also has a spacious interior that isn’t compromised by the nickel-metal hydride battery pack and all-new suspension layout that gives the vehicle a more pleasing ride and more sensitive handling
In fact, I found the 2019 RAV4 Hybrid with the revised suspension easily managed various kinds of pavement and the narrow roads, hills and curves found along the coast of Central California without the slightest sign of hesitation.
The solid suspension and surprisingly nimble driving dynamics are matched by responsive steering and excellent stopping power, which is enhanced by the regenerative braking. In addition, for the very first time ever, according to Toyota representatives, one of the company’s hybrids has been equipped with a setting calibrated for driving on rocky, rutted off-road trails.
Toyota has offered hybrid versions of the RAV4 in years past but with only modest success.
The 2019 RAV4 Hybrid, though, represents a major league improvement over the previous hybrid versions of the RAV4, which always seemed to be an afterthought.
Equipped with the hybrid powertrain, the RAV4’s 219 horsepower output is available quickly. Since the RAV4 Hybrid XLE I drove weighed only 3,755 pounds, the power-to-weight ratio meant it moved out in traffic from a standing start quite swiftly. In contrast to earlier versions of the of Toyota hybrids system the 2019 RAV4 Hybrid delivers its power smoothly without the hesitation that seemed to have been a constant feature of the automaker’s hybrid technology going all the way back to the 1990s.
In the 2019 RAV4 Hybrid, the 2.5-liter engine and the Toyota Hybrid System II are teamed with an electronically-controlled continuously-variable transmission that smooths out the shift points even the RAV4 is climbing or descending a hill.
The gasoline engine the RAV4 Hybrid is also quite sophisticated combining direct and secondary port injectors, high-speed combustion, intelligent variable valve-timing and ultra-low internal friction yield a maximum thermal efficiency to deliver both power and fuel efficiency, which come in at 41 miles per gallon in the city, 37 mpg on the highway for a combined rating of 37 mpg, making it a good prospect for long-distance commuters.
The off-road feature seems to change the character 2019 RAV4 Hybrid giving it more confidence and even a bit of SUV swagger that should help increase the vehicle’s overall appeal. In fact, Toyota’s designers have equipped the 2019 RAV4 Hybrid with a grille that is adapted from Toyota’s sporty trucks such as the sporty Tacoma to highlight its improved off-road capability.
Besides the more rugged front fascia with integrated grille shutters, the exterior of the RAV4 Hybrid is sleeker and smoother, giving the vehicle a more contemporary appearance. The 17-inch wheel and LED headlamps and running lights complete the contemporary look.
On the inside, the RAV4 Hybrid is more spacious thanks to 105.9-inch wheel base and the additional shoulder and head room.  A moon roof is optional on the hybrid.
The 2019 RAV4 Hybrid also is updated with new technology.
Every RAV4 Hybrid is equipped with the Toyota Safety Sense 2.0, which includes a suite of driver assistance features such pre-collision warning with pedestrian and daytime cyclist detection, lane departure alert with steering assist and road edge detection, automatic high beams, full-speed range dynamic radar cruise control and road sign assist capable of reading speed limit signs and lane tracing assist, Star Safety System – includes Enhanced Vehicle Stability Control and Traction Control.
There is also smart stop technology, eight airbags – including driver and driver knee airbag; front passenger seat cushion airbag; and front and rear side curtain airbags
In addition, to smart key, power windows and map lights every 2019 RAV4 model is equipped with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant capability and Entune 3.0 Audio, a comprehensive system that includes six speakers, 7-inch touch screen, AM/FM, Scout GPS Link Compatible. Siri Eyes Free, Apple CarPlay Compatible, auxiliary port, USB media, hands-free phone capability, advanced voice recognition and music streaming via Bluetooth.
Toyota also has made a point of bringing the price of the hybrid down to the point where it will cost about $800 more than the comparable RAV4 with a gasoline engine, making the hybrids fuel-economy more attractive, I am sure, for certain buyers. For example, the RAV4 XLE with a gasoline engines costs $28,700, compared with the $29,700 for the hybrid version. The destination charge for each vehicle is $1,045.

Friday, 16 November 2018

The 2020 Toyota Corolla Sedan Will Be the First Corolla Hybrid In the U.S.

The 2020 Toyota Corolla Sedan Will Be the First Corolla Hybrid In the U.S.
Toyota will offer the Corolla sedan as a hybrid. The announcement comes just after the all-new 2020 Corolla sedan was unveiled, which is what the new hybrid model will be based on. But Toyota is keeping all the U.S.-spec details close to its chest until the car's debut at the Los Angeles auto show at the end of November, so we don't have specs or photos for the hybrid yet.
The Corolla hybrid bound for sale in China has been revealed, though, and the one coming to America should look nearly identical. (Pictured above is the China-market Corolla hybrid sedan.) The only styling differences between the standard Corolla sedan and the hybrid will likely be blue-ringed Toyota emblems and some special badging. Like the Camry hybrid, the Corolla hybrid could be offered in an SE trim to bring the same aggressive styling elements found on the nonhybrid SE and XSE Corolla sedan trims.
We expect that the Corolla hybrid will use the same 2.0-liter inline-four engine found in the higher trim levels of the standard sedan. That new Dynamic Force engine was designed from the outset to be used in hybrids, and it powers the Europe-market hybrid Corolla hatch. In that application, the powertrain makes 180 horsepower and uses a six-speed automatic transmission. The Euro Corolla also is offered with a less powerful hybrid setup that uses an older 1.8-liter engine and a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT); the U.S.-spec Corolla hybrid could use this setup instead.
The Corolla hybrid will be a good choice for those who want excellent fuel economy in a compact car without resorting to the funky styling of a Toyota Prius or a Hyundai Ioniq. The Corolla's closest competitor will be the new Honda Insight, which is based on the Civic—the standard Corolla's biggest target—and is similarly very mainstream in design. The most efficient versions of the Insight are rated at 52 mpg combined, which is surely a number Toyota will try to beat with the new Corolla.

A New All-Electric Pickup Truck Is Coming from a Startup Called Rivian

A New All-Electric Pickup Truck Is Coming from a Startup Called Rivian

Rivian, a new American electric-car company, has been around since 2009, but it's not until later this month that the company will reveal its first two production vehicles, a pickup and an SUV, at the Los Angeles auto show. The R1T is coming first, and the company has released this teaser video of the full-size pickup truck.
The company calls its products "electric adventure vehicles," so it makes sense that the first car to be revealed is a pickup. Rivian claims the R1T will have more than 400 miles of range, a zero-to-60-mph time of 3.0 seconds, semi-autonomous technology, and "class leading" capabilities both on- and off-road. In the video, we can see glimpses of the R1T as it silently blasts down a dirt road, and the truck's unique lighting signature is visible at the end. Rivian also released a photo of the side of a clay model of the truck in their design studio.
Also to be revealed at the L.A. show is the R1S, a three-row, seven-passenger SUV. Both the R1T and R1S are built on the same "skateboard" style platform. The startup intends to begin deliveries to customers in 2020 out of a 2.6-million-square-foot factory in Normal, Illinois. (The plant used to belong to Mitsubishi; Rivian acquired it in January 2017.) Rivian's not a small operation, despite its startup status. Its design and engineering headquarters are in Plymouth, Michigan; a facility in Irvine, California, focuses on battery technology; another facility, in San Jose, California, is for self-driving tech; and advanced engineering is done in the United Kingdom. In total, Rivian already employs over 500 people, and says it expects to double that number as production ramps up.
We spent a morning at Rivian's Michigan headquarters getting a sneak peek at the R1T, and we came away impressed by both the truck and the company as a whole. Rivian seems like it could be the real deal, something that cannot be said about a number of other EV startup brands, and if they can deliver on their 2020 promise, they could beat Tesla's pickup to market. Stay tuned for more info about the two vehicles in the coming weeks.

Thursday, 15 November 2018

China Is Leading the World to an Electric Car Future

Volkswagen workers build a Golf electric car at a factory in Dresden.
The world’s biggest market for electric vehicles wants to get even bigger, so it’s giving automakers what amounts to an ultimatum. Starting in January, all major manufacturers operating in China—from global giants Toyota Motor and General Motors to domestic players BYD and BAIC Motor—have to meet minimum requirements there for producing new-energy vehicles, or NEVs (plug-in hybrids, pure-battery electrics, and fuel-cell autos). A complex government equation requires that a sizable portion of their production or imports must be green in 2019, with escalating goals thereafter.

The regime resembles the cap-and-trade systems being deployed worldwide for carbon emissions: Carmakers that don’t meet the quota themselves can purchase credits from rivals that exceed it. But if they can’t buy enough credits, they face government fines or, in a worst-case scenario, having their assembly lines shut down.
“The pressure is mounting,” says Yunshi Wang, director of the China Center for Energy and Transportation at the University of California at Davis. “This could be a model for other countries; it could be a game changer globally.”
The message coming from the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases is clear: Even as President Trump withdraws support for alternative fuels, attempts to gut mileage requirements, and begins the process of pulling out of the Paris Agreement on climate change, China is dead serious about leading the way to an electrified future. That would help it reduce a dependence on imported oil and blow away the smog choking its cities. It would also help domestic automakers gain more expertise in a car manufacturing segment that’s burgeoning globally.

Given the size of the Chinese market, the largest for cars overall and for EVs, auto companies will have to rapidly accelerate their development and manufacturing efforts to meet the targets. By 2025, China’s leaders want 7 million cars sold every year, or about 20 percent of the total, to be plug-in hybrids or battery-powered. “This is probably the single most important piece of EV legislation in the world,” Bloomberg NEF said in May.
The world’s largest automaker is certainly taking notice. Volkswagen AG, which sold just under 40 percent of its vehicles in China last year, says it will introduce about 40 locally produced NEV models in China within the next decade. “Volkswagen Group China will meet the government’s targets,” the company said in a statement.
BMW AG, which sells more cars in China than anywhere else, makes two plug-in hybrids there and plans to produce two pure-electric cars, including the iX3 SUV, starting in 2020. Yet some companies will struggle to reach the goals under their own steam. “Carmakers are both technically and commercially not ready for a ramp-up in EV production to the level of the quotas,” says Sophie Shen, an automotive analyst at PwC in Shanghai.
So they’re turning to a wide range of solutions to avoid falling short. Ford Motor Co., which lost $378 million in China in the third quarter, is teaming up with Zotye Automobile Co., a minor domestic player, to jointly produce cars eligible for the credits, Asia-Pacific President Peter Fleet said in October. Ford will introduce at least 15 hybrids and EVs in China by 2025. Vehicles sold through the Zotye partnership will have a new brand name.
Some rivals, however, are putting their names on the same generic car. Toyota, Fiat Chrysler AutomobilesHonda Motor, and Mitsubishi Motors all plan to sell the same electric SUV, developed by Guangzhou Automobile Group, to Chinese drivers. Other than brand-specific pricing and specifications, the models will be largely identical. That’s not ideal in an industry that prizes distinctive marketing, but it’s a necessary compromise until the companies develop their own technologies.
While carmakers have plenty of regulatory reasons to flood Chinese showrooms with EVs, it’s not clear that consumers will want them. Electric cars remain considerably more expensive than their gasoline counterparts everywhere; in China, where gasoline cars such as Chongqing Changan Automobile Co.’s Benben Mini model sell for as little as 29,900 yuan ($4,300), the difference can be especially pronounced.
For now, government subsidies for EVs cover much of that gap, running to as much as $7,900 for an all-electric vehicle with a range longer than 400km. That can offset almost one-third of the sticker price of a BYD e5 electric car.
The incentives, though, are being phased out and will disappear in 2021. That could mean a risky several years for automakers, since battery costs aren’t expected to be truly price-competitive with internal combustion engines until 2024 to 2028, depending on a vehicle’s type and the region of the globe where it’s sold, according to BNEF.
Still, the government has other levers should demand fall short. Several of the largest cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen, limit the number of cars on their roads by restricting the issuance of new license plates. In those metropolises, simply acquiring the right to purchase a car can be pricey. A plate for a traditional gas guzzler costs as much as $14,000 in Shanghai. But if a consumer decides on an EV instead, it’s free.