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E-mobility wave builds in 2020 

2020 will see a big ramp-up in electric vehicle offerings from vehicle manufacturers.  

The most significant model will be the Volkswagen compact cIass ID.3 - it is the start of the new VW all-electric family. But there is a long list of fully electric models due for market launch over the next year or so including a BMW iX3, the Honda 'e', the Ford Mustang Mach-E, Mazda MX30, Kia e-Niro, an electric Mini, the Polestar 2, a Porsche Macan EV and we'll also be seeing more Mercedes EQC and Audi e-tron (also joined in 2020 by the Sportback electric saloon) electric SUVs on the roads.  

Tesla will be further ramping up Model 3 volume and is planning a new version of its Roadster, too, as well as the Model Y crossover. PSA will have electric versions of its Peugeot 208, DS 3 Crossback and Opel/Vauxhall Corsa. There will also be a Peugeot e-2008. 

Besides its crucial Golf-sized ID.3, Volkswagen Group will be launching an electric version of its Citigo small car (as well as a SEAT Mii electric) and the SEAT el-Born (the first non-VW model on the MEB platform). 

Volkswagen says its 1D.3 − shown at the Frankfurt Show in September − follows the Beetle and the Golf to introduce the third major chapter of strategic importance for the history of the brand. 'ID' stands for intelligent design, identity and visionary technologies. 

“With the ID.3, we are starting from the centre, the Volkswagen brand’s core, in which the majority of the models and sales volume can be found. The number 3 also signals expandability into the segments above and below it. We have a lot in the pipeline,” says Jürgen Stackmann, Member of the Board of Management Volkswagen Brand for Sales, Marketing & After Sales, offering a preview of Volkswagen’s e-mobility campaign.  

Every member of this model family will bear the name ID., which represents a new, independent series of products in the brand portfolio. While the Beetle once mobilized the masses, and the Golf as the class leader featured great innovations in each generation, VW says the ID. will make e- mobility accessible to a broad spectrum of customers. 

For its electric offensive, Volkswagen Group has said that it plans to spend EUR€20bn to roll out 80 new electric cars across its multi-brand group by 2025, up from a previous goal of 30. Moreover, it wants to offer an electric version of each of its 300 group models by 2030. 

The electric strategy is based on the VW Group's modular electric drive matrix (MEB), a technology platform developed specifically for electric vehicles. Production of the Volkswagen ID.3, the first series vehicle based on the MEB, will begin in Zwickau at the end of 2019.


As VW Group continues to grapple with the challenges and fallout from 'dieselgate', it is aiming to base its corporate strategy on electrification and is aiming for leadership in the field of electrification. By 2025, VW could be selling 25% of its vehicles as BEVs, but is hedging forecasts on how the market develops. 

Other vehicle makers have announced similar plans to add electrified models to their ranges. 

Daimler is perhaps notable for developing its electric vehicle strategy explicitly as part of its strategy to address other megatrends such as the shift to car sharing and driverless operation. 

Daimler says its new generation of electric vehicles will be based on an architecture developed specifically for battery-electric models, which is scalable in every respect and usable across all models: the wheelbase and track width as well as all other system components, especially the batteries, are variable thanks to the modular building-block system. The vehicle concept, Daimler maintains, is optimised to meet every requirement of a future-oriented, battery-electric model family. The electric vehicle architecture builds on a multi-material mix of steel, aluminium and carbon fibre. This, Daimler maintains, ensures that the requirements in terms of lightweight design, strength and cost efficiency are ideally met and the basic architecture is suitable for SUVs, saloons, coupés, cabriolets and other model series. The first in the series is the EQ C. 

Similarly, Honda says it has developed a new EV-specific platform for its 'e' model. Honda has also announced that it intends to make 100% of its European automobile sales electrified (includes hybrids) by 2025. The new ambition builds on the brand's aim for two-thirds of its sales to be electrified by 2025. 

As seat designs go, this one caught our eye: The Lexus kinetic seat concept.

China's e-mobility question-mark 

When it comes to e-mobility, much attention is directed towards the world's largest car market - China. Since the government cut subsidies in June, China’s new energy vehicle (NEV) market - comprising mainly electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles - has been in free-fall. After growing by almost 59% to 617,000 units in the first half of 2019, NEV sales in the country declined by over 27% to 326,000 units in the four months between July-October -according to data released by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM). A big question is how the market will evolve over the next twelve months. 

The government will rely on minimum sales quotas and other non financial measures such as refueling infrastructure development to achieve its long-term NEV sales target of around 60% of total passenger vehicle sales by 2035. 

Beijing maintains that some carmakers have become "over reliant on subsidies and will therefore find it difficult to compete in the global markets".  

Nevertheless, significant new capacity is needed to meet the Chinese government’s target for NEVs to account for 20% of overall passenger vehicle sales by 2025 and 60% by 2035. In the meantime, those companies that do not meet the rising minimum sales quotas face financial penalties to compensate. 

Vehicle manufacturers are beginning to step up their efforts to bring new electric vehicle models to market, however. Volkswagen group this month announced its joint ventures would invest EUR4bn in their local operations next year – 40% of which designated to bringing new electric vehicles to market. The company said it aims to launch 30 new NEV models in the next five years and is targeting 1.5m NEV sales in the country by 2025. 

This year GM launched two new electric vehicle models in China, the Buick Velite and the Chevrolet Menlo, as part of a plan to launch 20 new electrified models in the country by 2023. Tesla has just completed an EV plant in Shanghai, with commercial production scheduled to start by the end of 2019. 

Leading domestic companies have also stepped up their efforts, including BYD Auto and BAIC Motor, while Volkswagen’s partners FAW and SAIC also have EV programmes of their own. Greater competition and economies of scale will help bring prices down, and improvements in product technology - including faster battery recharging times, should help win over buyers in the next few years. 

In the case of China's EV market, much also hinges on what happens to the economy and overall vehicle demand, in addition to the provision of EV-specific incentives. 


More electric trucks on the way 

While the rise of electric passenger vehicles is firmly established, it has taken longer for electric trucks and commercial vehicles to appear in the mainstream automotive industry. The drive towards electrified powertrains stems from the worldwide effort to lower emissions, significantly hastened by toughened legislation in the wake of the Dieselgate emissions-fixing scandal. 

In Europe, a number of manufacturers are introducing electric vans. Citroen is one of the leaders in the trend, benefitting from heavy Groupe PSA investment in an electrified powertrain assembly line at its Tremery plant. Already present on very targeted markets with Berlingo Electric and the forthcoming launch of Relay Electric (beginning of 2020), Citroen plans to extend its electric offering for business customers with a range of 100% electric compact vans by 2021.   

Nissan in the UK reports sales of its Nissan e-NV200 fully electric light van up by 200% in 2019 as more firms switch their light commercial vehicle (LCV) fleets to electric propulsion. Nissan maintains that operators are being swayed by increased fleet efficiency and reduced running costs amid changing emissions legislation and the introduction of London's Ultra Low Emission Zone. 

On the heavy duty side, Volvo Trucks has announced the start of FL and FE electric truck sales in selected markets within Europe. The Volvo FL Electric and Volvo FE Electric trucks have been developed for distribution, refuse handling and other urban transport applications. Sales will start in Sweden, Norway, Germany, Switzerland, France and the Netherlands. The start of serial production is planned for March, 2020. The Volvo FL Electric has capacity for a GVW (gross vehicle weight) of 16 tonnes, while the GVW of the Volvo FE Electric is 27 tonnes. 

Infrastructure boost

A big part of the e-mobility story - besides the product - is the availability of battery charging, especially fast-charging infrastructure. Ionity - the JV between BMW Group, Daimler AG, Ford and VW set up to create a network of high power electric battery charging stations throughout Europe - will be adding more charging stations. Ionity's Europe-wide charging network will see up to 2,400 chargers (at some 400 stations) installed by the end of 2020.

Keep an eye on the battery supply part of the supply chain, too. VW has said it is worried there may not be enough batteries for all the EVs it plans to launch in the next five years, partly because producers such as LGC and China's CATL don't have enough skilled workers for new plants in Europe to ramp up output quickly. 

Some stats

Global sales of battery electric cars surged 73% in 2018 to 1.3m units, but that was still just a fraction of the 86m cars sold globally. 

GlobalData forecasts that by 2034, annual global output of fully electric vehicles will be 19m units a year, led by rapidly rising demand in China and Western Europe. 

The total global electrified vehicle market – including full hybrids as well as fully electric vehicles – will account for slightly more than 6.5% of global light vehicle production in 2020, increasing to nearly 30% by 2034. 

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